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Comment Re:Lax attitudes toward child pornography (Score 2) 722

You're totally missing the point. Police go after people possessing part of a dead plant to combat the production of said plant. Police go after possession of child pornography to combat the production of child pornography.

I think you're wrong here. With drugs, police go after production to combat possession (and use), which is what they ultimately want to reduce. With child pornography, police go after use and possession to combat production.

Comment Re:Find precious metals on Mars (Score 1) 228

> No, humanity can do these things because they are great to do.

And humanity can also build giant pyramids because they are great to do. Or we can build ghost towns. Or give every home in the Himalayas a high-speed DSL internet connection. But we don't, because we have limited resources. And that's the point of the free market. In a free market, things are done because they meet people's needs, not because bureaucrat decides to implement his childlike imagination. And it doesn't look like people are interested enough in a base on Mars to pay for one.

Comment Re:Well that's funny, cos my country just (Score 1) 398

It's a question of practicality. Yes, we could rewrite the constitution right now, but if we were to do that it would be an opportunity for the government and associated powerful interests to take some of our last standing bulwarks against tyranny and neuter them with a "this is subject to reasonable limits as justified by the public good in a free and democratic society" clause. If the people actually had the level of control that would allow a reasonable constitution with guaranteed rights and freedoms for the 21st century to be implemented, I think more people would be fine with it. But we don't, so it's best to stick to what we have.

Comment Re:Libertarians? (Score 1) 727

> Then why don't we treat them as such? Why do we give them bailouts, lobbying jobs, and cabinet positions instead?

Does any sane person advocate more bailouts, lobbying and revolving door cabinet positions? Because I haven't heard any

> Seems much safer

He who would give up essential liberty for a little temporary safety...

Comment Re:Libertarians? (Score 1) 727

Because a bunch of people being allowed, by privilege of owning a lot, to do whatever the hell they want without consequences is a bad thing indeed- despite the existence of other groups with the same amount of money doing good.

You can prevent people from doing a lot of bad in two ways. First, you can prevent people from doing a lot period. Second, though, you can prevent people from doing bad no matter what the scale. Liberty is not about doing whatever you want without consequences, it's about doing whatever you want that does not infringe on the rights of others. Some rich people will do good (eg. by setting up charities), others will act neutrally (eg. by leaving their money as inheritance to children who waste it all and contribute nothing themselves), but those that use their money to do harm are criminals no matter what political system you subscribe to.

Comment Re:Libertarians? (Score 3, Insightful) 727

> Since corporations only exist due to special protections granted to them by the government, many (most?) libertarians (myself included) do not consider them to be actors in, nor an accurate representation of, a true free market.

I don't think it's quite that simple. In an unhampered free market it is possible that people will voluntarily choose to organize themselves into groups that function according to similar rules as those that what we now call "corporations" do now. There will be no limited liability (with regard to lawsuits; limited liability with regard to debts can still exist as part of the loan contract, so conservatives' fears that without limited liability there will be no business at all are quite unfounded), so people will be punished for fraud and environmental damage more, and things will be better in that regard, but the format of the large business as a whole could still exist. And there's nothing wrong with that - it's never as simple as "rich people are evil"; look at the so-called "robber baron" era of the 19th century - some rich people got their way through powerful friends and corruption and government-assisted cartelization, while others played fairly on the market and used their fortunes to set up institutions that continue to serve the public good even now (see: Nobel prizes, American non-profit universities, etc). It's exactly the same way even now.

Comment Re:For the record (Score 1) 807

The problem lies in the implementation. It's easy to prefer more democratic ownership of the means of production, but how do you make that happen? If you, as a socialist-leaning individual, work to implement it by shopping more at family-owned and cooperative stores, using open source software, working for yourself, a small business or a cooperative, and by encouraging your friends to do the same, that's one thing. But if you're a socialist politician, or socialist voter, then that means that you support the sort of government that causes more democratic ownership of MOP, and the majority of people here seem to think that an activist, centralized, powerful federal government big enough to push down the banks and corporations is the best way to do that, and that's why so many people see socialism = big government. What other government policy could socialist politicians and voters advocate?

Comment Re:Subsidies inflate pricing. (Score 1) 1797

And why should the people in the medium and far future have to suffer for your political weakness and unwillingness to commit the necessary evil? Why should people have to suffer under an unfair system forever just because you were too concerned with a few collateral consequences of breaking the whole system down? Your argument works both ways,

Comment Re:Not all schools are equal (Score 1) 333

> We both think that it removes hands-on learning and frees the teacher from actually teaching anything (not a good thing).

Depends on what "teaching" is. If it's a teacher encouraging class discussion and collectively coming up with an answer to a problem, then yes, technology can't help that. But if it's someone just delivering a one-way lecture, then there's no reason why it can't be one person recording a speech and drawing stuff on camera and having the video copied a hundred million times and shown to every class that needs to see that material all across the world and reused again and again until the information ceases to be accurate.

Comment Re:Elevator to nowhere (Score 1) 212

technically, the energy requirements would stay the same. But the delta-v required would become as low as we please, making very cheap and low-power sources effective

It's even better than you think. The fuel needed to accelerate a spacecraft to escape velocity (and the container to carry it) is very heavy (at an exhaust velocity of 4.5 km/s, fuel to get from surface to deep space (11.3 km/s delta-v) is nearly 10x the weight of the rest of the fuel and the payload), but with space elevators all the "fuel" is stored on the ground, so you actually need 90% less energy.

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