JBk4rq Hey, thanks for the blog post. Want more.
For all of us money is a nessecity, and without money nobody would last very long in todays' society. It is for the majority of the human race the only means of survival within the capitalist system. So you would think that with its' "life giving powers" and constant everyday use, money would be better understood by those most dependant upon it. Unfortunetly this isn't the case. It is not what money is or how it impacts on the whole of society, but how money can best be "made" by the individual, for the individual. Why? Greed is a factor, but the need to survive is probably the most accurate answer among those who have to work for it. The need to know what it is, is over shadowed by the need to have what it is. So what is it?
It's not uncommon on this site that some of the more heated arguments will bypass each other completely because they're attacking two different sides of a problem: how something should work, and how it actually does. In other words, one person will argue about the Ideal situation that we should work towards, and the other will argue about the situation we find ourselves in now. These aren't necessarily mutually exclusive, but they do make it more difficult to reach common ground - or to end an argument that circles itself for the wrong reasons.
First, I want to parse these two terms a little more precisely, because I think we have an innate cultural dispostion towards the "real" rather than the "ideal": internet blogs frequently refer to themselves as "the reality-based community", accuse idealists of being impractical dreamers, etc. But I have something a bit broader in mind, and perhaps "ideology" is a better word than "ideal", since it's really about a coherent approach to life over a development of approach based on each new ("real") circumstance.
In other words, we're all a certain mix of ideology and realism, and we tend to shift back and forth between them depending on which suits our arguments better.
The price of a commodity is determined by three factors. The competition between seller and seller. Competition between buyer and buyer, and finally competition between seller and buyer.
Seller Vs Seller; whoever sells the same commodity of the same quality for the cheapest price will dominate the market. This has the effect of pushing down the price of a certain commodity.
Buyer Vs Buyer; this has the effect of increasing the price of a commodity.
Seller Vs Buyer; the outcome will depend upon the result of the first two groups. If there is less competition between the sellers than that of the buyers the price will rise, and the opposite will produce the effect of lowering prices. In the same proportion in which the competition between sellers decreases, the competition among the buyers increases. In reality it is usually competition among the sellers that is most often the case; an excess of supply over the demand, and the selling of commodities at ridiculously low prices.
In a most recent article Paul Krugman laid out the real sticky point of Milton Friedman economics and how libertarian ideology can lead directly to the deaths of thousands of innocent Americans, not because some devious evil theocrat wanted to punish America for its freedom, but because of a cascade of ordinary corners of safety were cut, not even necessarily in excess greed, but just to keep up with everyone else and not be unduly burdened.
The economic case for having the government enforce rules on food safety seems overwhelming. Consumers have no way of knowing whether the food they eat is contaminated, and in this case what you don’t know can hurt or even kill you. But there are some people who refuse to accept that case, because it’s ideologically inconvenient.
If government regulation in the market has any place at all then the question quickly goes from "if it should exist at all" to "in what areas is it beneficial to humanity", and suddenly Socialism has a face that even a conservative must love unless he has only larceny for a heart.
Recent surveys in the US have found that 40% of voters (63% of Evangelicals) would have reservations in voting for an atheist. I think part of this stems from a feeling that atheists can't be trusted.
As the election season heats up we see more examples of obviously non-religious candidates proclaiming their beliefs because of this distrust. I speculate on the reasons below.
Let's start with a common occurrence - swearing to "tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth" in a court proceeding. Such testimony is said to be given "under oath". Until fairly recently people would swear on a Bible. This makes little sense on the face of it since the US is supposed to be a secular society. In fact when a newly elected official chose to take his oath on a Koran instead it produced criticism. (I should point out that such ceremonies are only symbolic, the actual pledge is to uphold the constitution.)
Whether we would choose to be a part of society, the simple truth is that we are. Whether we would choose to progress or not in knowledge and technology, the obvious fact is that we do. As a result, with these progressions life should become easier. As human society has evolved the conscious and physical level of co-operation has also risen. It is this co-operation which has allowed technology and our understanding to brilliantly explode in the way that it has. But everything created today owes its' existance to what was created before, that is to say, the evolution of technology and machinery is akin to the human condition, an unbroken chain of progression through co-operation within society. This was achieved due to the division of labour, specialization in a certian area of work. Where one man hunted another made the spears. As society evolved the spear maker no longer had to gather the raw materials as that area of work was divided into flint miner and woodsman, and so on. The production time (or work) early societies had to do to first survive fell in relation to the advancement of divided labour, ie; co-operation, and living conditions rose. The tools, machines and knowledge in society are exclusivly for the use of that society. They are of a purely social nature, they owe thier existance to humans working in co-operation. Man, alone, is weak. He is unable to produce by himself what you now see in front of you. To accomplish such a feat as the world today requires more than one pair of hands.
I wanted to throw out a general discussion on the notion of Responsibility, since it's come up in a few different threads on more specific issues. Specifically, to what extent are individuals responsible for their communities? Is the notion of responsibility a moral imperative as people on the Left are likely to argue, or is it a flimsy excuse for irresponsible socialism, as people on the Right might say? Is there a completely non-moral argument for fostering a notion of shared responsibility, or do the numbers support self-interest as a stronger long-term strategy for development?
Naturally a question like this doesn't have any "answers", at least not in the conventional notion of the word. What I'm more interested in is exploring the roots of why we think what we think, with the end goal of refining those beliefs so that, when they come up in future arguments, we'll all be on well-trodden ground.
XUqBO7 Very neat post.Much thanks again.
Crossposted from DailyKos . I am leaving this as a diary because it's not FP material. It was politely received on dkos.
I wrote this diary in response to perhaps a not well stated, and even an offensive question. It is not often that someone is very blunt about this but it gives me an opportunity as an American Jew to express some of my feelings on the matter.
This was the original comment that prompted me to think and write about it:
I have a serious question, one that has been on my mind for the longest.... Why is it that Jews in America, ones that were born here and no connection to Israel have more of a loyalty towards Israel than America at times? I'm a Black man, and care more about America than what happens to Africa. Just a question that I have been thinking about for awhile....
I have suspected for sometime that Dr Bob's RWA's were more than a statistical anomaly, and perhaps also a pathology not a lot different from depression or schizophrenia, containing a wide range of severity and a somewhat nebulous array of symptoms that, taken together, still have clinical meaning.
Missing from this Idea was specific causes and what mechanics might be involved. I suspected trauma as a place to start, as I had seen Religious cults, and groups that behave as cults zero in on PTSD like sharks smelling blood. What I had missed was the possibility that the biggest pool of recruits was abused, and neglected children.
There has been a rise in interest lately about the way authoritarian types can dominate a society's political processes. The world has always had strong, ruthless leaders, and their history of abuses was one of the motivations for the creation of democratic governments.
So when the two most successful democratic governments (US, UK) start taking on the aspects of autocracy people's interest in the dynamics of the process increase. I'm not a psychologist, so my little review, below, is mostly going to be a set of references to those who are experts, but I think even for those who have little faith in studies of human behavior the issue will be worth examining.
3Tb2NP I really enjoy the blog.Really looking forward to read more.
You're walking through an abandoned building when you hear somebody shouting out for help. You follow the sound of thier voice to find them trapped in a broken lift (elevator). The button on the inside is broken, but the one on the outside will open the doors and free the person. Would it be murder to walk away and leave them trapped? (and it's not your fault they are trapped).
I was asked the question this morning by a friend at work (who told it alot better than I've just done). We both agreed it constituted murder, if you can help you should. Then I posed another question on the same lines, if you have food or money to buy food, is it murder if somebody starves? My friend was unsure, but to me the two situations appear identical. It made me think how many mass murderers we have living free among us, if indeed to leave the abandoned stranded is murder.
In the previous part of this essay, I discussed a few useful pair definitions of liberal/conservative, which may be briefly summarized as: innovation/tradition, entitlement/responsibility, federal/local. Naturally this is a simplification but these rough dichotomies capture the essense of the liberal/conservative split. I'd first like to examine the respective approaches to a deliberately contrived example, then generalize to the different implementations of a "safety-net" in American society.
We begin our journey in the city of Omelas (link to summary but the entire short story is well worth reading), a utopia envisioned by Ursula K. Le Guin in which the people enjoy rich, free, and satisfying lives. The price of this perfection is horrific neglect and cruelty suffered by one child who is perpetually imprisoned in an unlit and uncleaned cell; most of the populace is willing to pay this price, although a few "walk away from Omelas." The way Le Guin balances the happiness of the people against the suffering of the innocent child seems to constitute an indictment of organizing society along strict utilitarian principles1. What does this scenario say about liberalism and conservatism? How would you, as a liberal or a conservative, act in such a situation?
It strikes me as odd that five hundred years before the garbage of the old testament was written, arguably the most influencial work in philosophical understanding was produced. What confuses me is the value of the content found in each and (to myself atleast) how humanity has not merely stalled in the method of reason and understanding, but in fact has devolved. The work in question is (if you haven't already guessed by the title) the Apology by Plato. It is, to cut a long story short, the trial of Socrates (Platos' teacher) and his defence in response to the allegations of corrupting the youths of Greece. It is the best insight we have about the teachings of Socrates, (although there are some who believe Plato may have added his own ideas) but what makes him stand out from the thousands of other philosphers, theologains and thinkers throughout the ages? Well to begin with it was how he applied dialectical reason to understanding life. The same method modern science uses now to determine the validity of truth. He was predominatly a skeptic, although it is clear there are some things which he did believe. In religous terms he was agnostic (way before the word agnostic was thought of) and non-commited to any belief of a life after death due to himself not having yet died. He teaches the value of self understanding, critical reasoning of that self and of the world "outside". He questions the power and knowledge of authority, preferring to believe in himself and his experiances rather than the words of others. He is the origanal free thinker.
Ender recently posted a piece on "Why I am not a liberal" decrying the mob intelligence, need entitlements, and mommy government that seem to go hand in hand with liberal principles. I think there are three definitions of liberal/conservative implicit in this, and I want to use this as a starting point to address each of them briefly (in a neutral manner, for the moment).
Sometimes I have these moments of confusion (you might say clarity but I know better) where I wonder if I really could be a liberal... Moments pass and then all these reasons pour into my mind that convince me that I posess an almost biological predisposition to the Right wing way of thinking. What are these reasons and are they rational or emotional or even biological?
The world has gotten so complicated in the past century that we no longer have the expertise to evaluate the advice we are given.
I examine below several areas that affect most of us on a personal basis:
The rapid advances in medicine over the past century have led to treatments for a wide variety of conditions that were hopeless before. New drugs and surgical techniques improve the quality of life of millions everyday. So we go to the doctor with some problem and we get a recommendation for treatment. This recommendation itself is partly based on the doctor's own experience and partly based upon information provided to the doctor by medical journals, drug companies and continuing education.