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Old 05-08-2012, 03:12 PM   #21
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Why are you assuming that those individuals must agree on one solution that is then enforced on everyone (direct democracy), rather than assuming that in the absence of government intervention, individuals could simply make decisions for themselves, or for their familes, or for their businesses and let other individuals choose as they please?
Well, two reasons.

The first is that, in a large society, there are many decisions which have a direct impact on the well-being of the community as a whole. Examples would be the distribution and allocation of natural resources, the emission of pollutants and toxins into the environment, the construction of roads and bridges, the creation and enforcement of things like building and electrical codes, the allocation of finite intangible resources such as RF bandwidth for broadcast signals vs. cell phone signals vs. Wifi and other uses, and so on and so forth.


The second, which is directly related, is that both people and businesses have historically demonstrated that they are either unable or unwilling to regulate the aforementioned behavior in the absence of central mandate. As one example, in the absence of environmental regulations, chemical companies have historically tended to dispose of their toxic wastes by dumping them into rivers and streams, dumping them into the ground and thus contaminating the drinking water of entire cities, etc.


Personally, given the choice between being deprived of the liberty to dump my toxic waste wherever I want to vs. having other people dump all of their toxic waste into my drinking water, I'll choose the deprivation of the liberty.
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Old 05-08-2012, 03:41 PM   #22
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The first is that, in a large society, there are many decisions which have a direct impact on the well-being of the community as a whole.
And a great deal more decisions that do not impact the well-being of the community as a whole, and yet government still sees fit to intervene in private lives.

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The second, which is directly related, is that both people and businesses have historically demonstrated that they are either unable or unwilling to regulate the aforementioned behavior in the absence of central mandate.
I agree that, absent scrutiny, men generally try to get away with whatever they think they can get away with. I deny that the most efficacious form of scrutiny is government regulation in the form of some bureaucratic central mandate.





$60 Billion later, post-TSA air travel is no safer
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Old 05-08-2012, 03:47 PM   #23
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speaking of clean air:

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Dr. Dave Wilkinson, from Liverpool John Moores University, who led a study of the issue, that was published in the journal Current Biology, said:
“A simple mathematical model suggests that the microbes living in sauropod dinosaurs may have produced enough methane to have an important effect on the Mesozoic climate. Indeed, our calculations suggest that these dinosaurs could have produced more methane than all modern sources - both natural and man-made - put together.”
Medium-sized sauropods like diplodocus, which was 150 feet tall and weighed up to 45 tons, made enough methane to amount to roughly 472 million tons per year, the scientists calculated.
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Old 05-08-2012, 03:54 PM   #24
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Man I forgot how cool dinosaurs were.

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Old 05-08-2012, 04:14 PM   #25
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speaking of TSA:

Diabetic teen says TSA screeners broke $10,000 insulin pump...

http://www.abc4.com/content/news/top...X7LAbC1Xw.cspx


then speaking of actually thrawting terriorism:

CIA derails plot with al-Qaida underwear bomb

http://www.philly.com/philly/wires/a...rwearbomb.html
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Old 05-08-2012, 04:17 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by Joe Perez View Post
Well, two reasons.

The first is that, in a large society, there are many decisions which have a direct impact on the well-being of the community as a whole. Examples would be the distribution and allocation of natural resources, the emission of pollutants and toxins into the environment, the construction of roads and bridges, the creation and enforcement of things like building and electrical codes, the allocation of finite intangible resources such as RF bandwidth for broadcast signals vs. cell phone signals vs. Wifi and other uses, and so on and so forth.
Even if one agreed with every item in the above list, 95% of what the Fed Gov does is waaaay outside those examples.
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Old 05-08-2012, 04:30 PM   #27
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I like this quote from Bruno Leoni:

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"No solemn titles, no pompous ceremonies, no enthusiasm on the part of applauding masses can conceal the crude fact that both the legislators and the directors of a centralized economy are only particular individuals like you and me, ignorant of 99 percent of what is going on around them as far as the real transactions, agreements, attitudes, feelings, and convictions of people are concerned. One of the paradoxes of our era is the continual retreat of traditional religious faith before the advance of science and technology, under the implied exigency of a cool and matter-of-fact attitude and dispassionate reasoning, accompanied by a no less continual retreat from the same attitude and reasoning in regard to legal and political questions. The mythology of our age is not religious, but political, and its chief myths seem to be 'representation' of the people, on the one hand, and the charismatic pretension of political leaders to be in possession of the truth and to act accordingly, on the other."
Friedrich Hayek has a term, "spontaneous order":

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spontaneous_order

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Spontaneous order, also known as "self-organization", is the spontaneous emergence of order out of seeming chaos. It is a process found in physical, biological, and social networks, as well as economics, though the term "self-organization" is more often used for physical and biological processes, while "spontaneous order" is typically used to describe the emergence of various kinds of social orders from a combination of self-interested individuals who are not intentionally trying to create order through planning. The evolution of life on Earth, language, crystal structure, the Internet and a free market economy have all been proposed as examples of systems which evolved through spontaneous order.[1] Naturalists often point to the inherent "watch-like" precision of uncultivated ecosystems and to the universe itself as ultimate examples of this phenomenon.
The idea that central planners and top-down control can improve on society was called "Fatal Conceit" by Hayek:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Fatal_Conceit

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To Hayek the birth of civilization is due to the start of societal traditions placing importance on private property leading to expansion, trade, and eventually the modern capitalist system, also known as the extended order[1]. Socialists are wrong because they disregard the fact that modern civilization naturally evolved and was not planned. Additionally, since modern civilization and all of its customs and traditions naturally led to the current order and are needed for its continuance, any fundamental change to the system that tries to control it is doomed to fail since it would be impossible or unsustainable in modern civilization.
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Old 05-08-2012, 04:34 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by JasonC SBB View Post
The idea that central planners and top-down control can improve on society was called "Fatal Conceit" by Hayek
BUT HOW WILL THE GROCERS KNOW HOW MUCH MILK AND HOW MUCH LETTUCE TO STOCK UNLESS SOMEONE TELLS THEM????

I rest my case.
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Old 05-08-2012, 04:35 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by mgeoffriau View Post
And a great deal more decisions that do not impact the well-being of the community as a whole, and yet government still sees fit to intervene in private lives.
To be honest, I'm having a difficult time thinking of a specific example of this (a government regulation that intervenes in my private life in a way that has no benefit to the community as a whole), though I'm sure that there are examples.

Sometimes, of course, laws and regulations restrict what I can or can't do in a way that only protects a small group of people, or even a single individual, rather than "the community as a whole". One very extreme example of this would be the regulation of the African slave trade in the US. Legally recognized slavery definitely benefited more Americans than it harmed, as prior to the invention of the steam engine and industrial mechanization, it enabled us to get a "leg up" on the world economy and become a major global player in the textile industry, in addition to creating an agricultural boom which raised the standard of living of most Americans.

Unfortunately, it did create a significant hardship for a small minority, namely the slaves themselves.


Quote:
Originally Posted by mgeoffriau View Post
(charts)
I assume the intent here was to illustrate that downward trends already existed prior to the implementation of the specific law in question?

If so, these charts commit the fallacy of omission, by concealing the fact that the 1970 Clean Air Act was not the first piece of legislation enacted to decrease air pollution, nor was the formation of OSHA the first regulation put in place to ensure worker safety.

They've simply chosen two "big name" laws, plotted them on a chart, and completely ignored that fact that, individually, each was only one chapter in a long history of regulation.


Could the EPA be more efficient? Of course. No bureaucratic agency will ever be "optimal" by any reasonable definition of the word. But is it better from the mob rule and functional anarchy that would result from complete and total individual liberty?

You betcha.
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Old 05-08-2012, 04:38 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by JasonC SBB View Post
Even if one agreed with every item in the above list, 95% of what the Fed Gov does is waaaay outside those examples.
As I said, I tried to think of an example of government regulation which curtailed my own liberty without having the intent of protecting the liberty of another, or the greater good of society.

And I failed.

I'm perfectly willing to hear specific examples from you or anyone else.
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Old 05-08-2012, 04:40 PM   #31
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To be honest, I'm having a difficult time thinking of a specific example of this (a government regulation that intervenes in my private life in a way that has no benefit to the community as a whole), though I'm sure that there are examples.
Seatbelt laws.

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If so, these charts commit the fallacy of omission, by concealing the fact that the 1970 Clean Air Act was not the first piece of legislation enacted to decrease air pollution, nor was the formation of OSHA the first regulation put in place to ensure worker safety.

They've simply chosen two "big name" laws, plotted them on a chart, and completely ignored that fact that, individually, each was only one chapter in a long history of regulation.

Could the EPA be more efficient? Of course. No bureaucratic agency will ever be "optimal" by any reasonable definition of the word. But is it better from the mob rule and functional anarchy that would result from complete and total individual liberty?

You betcha.
So your response is bare assertion?
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Old 05-08-2012, 04:42 PM   #32
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Enjoy Joe:







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Old 05-08-2012, 04:55 PM   #33
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LMAO...who gave me a -1 for post #22?
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Old 05-08-2012, 05:15 PM   #34
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Seatbelt laws.
Ok, that's a good one. And I'd have never thought of it, to be honest.

If I were to play devil's advocate, I might postulate that seatbelt use reduces injuries from automobile accidents, thus decreasing the economic burden on society and the public healthcare system from treating same.

But in reality, I agree with you. This is a good example of the government overstepping its bounds. I don't feel that it harms me in any way to be forced to wear a seatbelt (I wear one anyway), but I do recognize the validity of your premise.



Quote:
Originally Posted by mgeoffriau View Post
So your response is bare assertion?
No, those charts were simply misleading. My response is to point out the fallacy in the argument which I assume they were trying to make.

I could, for instance, point out the fact that over the past several centuries there has been a direct correlation between the decrease in the number of European men (as a percentage of the total male population of Europe) who wear hats every day and the increase in average global temperature.

If someone else then came along and read that data, and from it inferred that wearings hats prevents global warming, then I'd be guilty of using misleading data to deceive them, presupposing that this was my intention in generating the original observation.



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Enjoy Joe:(videos)
I have a new policy- I call it Jason's Law. I don't waste my time watching videos or reading off-site materials that people post in defense of their positions in the Politics section.

If you can't summarize it for me in your own words, I'm not going to dignify it with my time.


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LMAO...who gave me a -1 for post #22?
'Twas not I. But I will go ahead and bump you back up to 0 on it.
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Old 05-08-2012, 05:27 PM   #35
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To be honest, I'm having a difficult time thinking of a specific example of this (a government regulation that intervenes in my private life in a way that has no benefit to the community as a whole), though I'm sure that there are examples.
Every single business regulation that reduces competition may cost you $5 a year here and $5 a year there in reduced economic efficiency.

In every case when some new law is being reviewed it's not worth your time to fight against it. But for the firms in question it's worth millions. So they organize and lobby for it. You and I don't have the same organization.

Multiply the above by thousands and thousands of regulations and it may be worth 10's of thousands of $ per year.

From Bastiat's the Law:

Quote:
Life, faculties, production—in other words, individuality, liberty, property—this is man. And in spite of the cunning of artful political leaders, these three gifts from God precede all human legislation, and are superior to it. Life, liberty, and property do not exist because men have made laws. On the contrary, it was the fact that life, liberty, and property existed beforehand that caused men to make laws in the first place.

When under the pretext of fraternity, the legal code imposes mutual sacrifices on the citizens, human nature is not thereby abrogated. Everyone will then direct his efforts toward contributing little to, and taking much from, the common fund of sacrifices. Now, is it the most unfortunate who gains from this struggle? Certainly not, but rather the most influential and calculating.

Government is the great fiction through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else.

People are beginning to realize that the apparatus of government is costly. But what they do not know is that the burden falls inevitably on them.

Law cannot organize labor and industry without organizing injustice.

The plans differ; the planners are all alike...

Now, legal plunder can be committed in an infinite number of ways. Thus we have an infinite number of plans for organizing it: tariffs, protection, benefits, subsidies, encouragements, progressive taxation, public schools, guaranteed jobs, guaranteed profits, minimum wages, a right to relief, a right to the tools of labor, free credit, and so on, and so on. All these plans as a whole—with their common aim of legal plunder—constitute socialism.

But how is this legal plunder to be identified? Quite simply. See if the law takes from some persons what belongs to them, and gives it to other persons to whom it does not belong. See if the law benefits one citizen at the expense of another by doing what the citizen himself cannot do without committing a crime.

It is easy to understand why the law is used by the legislator to destroy in varying degrees among the rest of the people their personal independence by slavery, their liberty by oppression, and their property by plunder. This is done for the benefit of the person who makes the law, and in proportion to the power that he holds.

If you wish to prosper, let your customer prosper. When people have learned this lesson, everyone will seek his individual welfare in the general welfare. Then jealousies between man and man, city and city, province and province, nation and nation, will no longer trouble the world.

Here I encounter the most popular fallacy of our times. It is not considered sufficient that the law should be just; it must be philanthropic. Nor is it sufficient that the law should guarantee to every citizen the free and inoffensive use of his faculties for physical, intellectual, and moral self-improvement. Instead, it is demanded that the law should directly extend welfare, education, and morality throughout the nation.

It is easier to show the disorder that must accompany reform than the order that should follow it.

The sort of dependence that results from exchange, i.e., from commercial transactions, is a reciprocal dependence. We cannot be dependent upon a foreigner without his being dependent on us. Now, this is what constitutes the very essence of society. To sever natural interrelations is not to make oneself independent, but to isolate oneself completely.

...the statement, “The purpose of the law is to cause justice to reign,” is not a rigorously accurate statement. It ought to be stated that the purpose of the law is to prevent injustice from reigning. In fact, it is injustice, instead of justice, that has an existence of its own. Justice is achieved only when injustice is absent.
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Old 05-08-2012, 05:27 PM   #36
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Now here's a real world example. The high cost of FDA testing:

http://www.manhattan-institute.org/html/fda_05.htm
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Old 05-08-2012, 05:32 PM   #37
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Originally Posted by Joe Perez View Post
Ok, that's a good one. And I'd have never thought of it, to be honest.

If I were to play devil's advocate, I might postulate that seatbelt use reduces injuries from automobile accidents, thus decreasing the economic burden on society and the public healthcare system from treating same.
I'm sure proponents of laws like these are quick to point out secondary benefits like (supposed) cost-saving; however, the legislation is always sold to the public as "Government needs to make your life safer, whether you want it to or not." (As an aside, I realize that it's wrong to refer to that as a sales pitch; for one thing, there's no need for a sales pitch when you have the power of coercion. For another thing, if there is a sales pitch involved, it's undoubtedly being made by one government official to another, not between the government and the public.)

Quote:
But in reality, I agree with you. This is a good example of the government overstepping its bounds. I don't feel that it harms me in any way to be forced to wear a seatbelt (I wear one anyway), but I do recognize the validity of your premise.
Thank you. I picked the most clear-cut example that came to mind (I almost went with bike helmet laws, but there's an issue of child safety there that I didn't want to touch). I'm sure we'd have more disagreement over the more ambiguous cases.

Quote:
No, those charts were simply misleading. My response is to point out the fallacy in the argument which I assume they were trying to make.

I could, for instance, point out the fact that over the past several centuries there has been a direct correlation between the decrease in the number of European men (as a percentage of the total male population of Europe) who wear hats every day and the increase in average global temperature.

If someone else then came along and read that data, and from it inferred that wearings hats prevents global warming, then I'd be guilty of using misleading data to deceive them, presupposing that this was my intention in generating the original observation.
I'm not sure this critique applies. Yes, a chart covering the years surrounding the implementation of a single piece of legislation does not a comprehensive argument make. On the other hand, the passage of that legislation rested on the idea that a future without those regulations in place was doomed to some horrible outcome. If the data suggests that the rate of improvement appears to be unchanged, then we have to look more critically at the claims made about the necessity of these laws.

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'Twas not I. But I will go ahead and bump you back up to 0 on it.
No worries...I don't mind the -1's when I'm a dumbass or a jerk...but it does make me laugh when someone can find no other appropriate response to a political, philosophical, or economic argument than to show me who's boss by dinging my prop total.
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Old 05-08-2012, 05:36 PM   #38
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Small example:

Why should cities take it upon themselves to fix the price and number of taxis?
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Old 05-08-2012, 05:37 PM   #39
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In other news regarding government intervention:

Obesity fight must shift from personal blame - U.S. panel

My favorite line:

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The average person cannot maintain a healthy weight in this obesity-promoting environment.
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Old 05-08-2012, 05:40 PM   #40
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Small example:

Why should cities take it upon themselves to fix the price and number of taxis?

to protect us from evil limo drivers with better service and cleaner rides.
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