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Comment Re:Yes (Score 1) 397

Yes, if he ran the stop sign then he is at fault in the resulting accident. We werent talking about that. We were talking about a case where e.g. the *other* guy ran the stop sign and plowed into him, was clearly at fault according to observation of the accident, but the blame is shifted to the guy he hit simply because of the later determination that his BAC was over an arbitrary level.

Comment Re:Yes (Score 1, Interesting) 397

"I didn't say it was right, I just pointed out the way it is. You cause a fender bender, you've got a little bit of trouble to deal with. You get caught drunk behind the wheel, regardless of how you got caught, pose for your mug shot."

And once that insanity was accepted the slippery slope to the destruction of the 4th amendment was only a matter of time.

Comment Re:Taxation wrong? Sorry, don't get it. Foreign. (Score 1) 701

"I'll hijack this here, because that's an important point. One of the strongest correlators of crime is the (inverse) quality of public education [0]. "

Agreed, excepting that the word 'public' here is unnecessary, inaccurate, and seems quite likely to amount to question-begging.

"Paying a small share for the education of your neighbours kids, even if you don't have any on your own, means paying for things you don't use. Yet the reduced stealing, robbing and killing 10 years down the road will benefit you personally."

Would that this was true! But you set a false scenario because you are assuming that without public education they wont get an education at all. This is false. My contention is that they would have the opportunity to receive a better, not a worse or simply no, education. Even if nothing else changed, simply the fact that someone is paying for something makes them less likely to waste it.

Good education is vitally important, on that I think we agree. My point is it's far too important to hand it over to an unaccountable monopoly.

Comment Re:Taxation wrong? Sorry, don't get it. Foreign. (Score 1) 701

I trained as an anthropologist for a few years under some excellent teachers, though I dont claim a degree in it. And quite simply, Dr. Diamond is wrong or you have misunderstood him. It's been many years since I read that book but I dont recall getting that message exactly. At any rate, in a band society the band is the common practical unit of organisation, but it is not the only one. Band members are not normally all related (a band might be composed of two families and several non family members) and band membership is extremely fluid, with people changing from band to band through the year, often essentially at will. Clans and tribes of people (generally related mythologically, not always literally) were larger groupings which could encompass many bands. Certainly sometimes groups fought each other, but peaceful interaction would still be the norm in most times and places. Horror stories regarding modern societies of this type consist of simple lies mixed with truths about things that happened only after the society was already broken down and effectively destroyed.

And yes, there is a danger of falling into the noble savage delusion, but there is also danger of denigrating our ancestors and underestimating them as well. It's all too easy to see our current state as the end of history, the pinnacle of achievement, etc. But an honest approach that can see our flaws as well as our achievements is probably better.

Comment Re:Taxation wrong? Sorry, don't get it. Foreign. (Score 1) 701

"Most libertarians wouldn't think taking a pair of shoes from a store without paying for it was just or reasonable, but when it comes to paying the bills for society, it suddenly becomes just and reasonable to take without paying."

Not at all. This is an absolute straw man.

We have no problem paying for what we use. But we dont want to pay for the things we dont use. Like the wars, the spying, the surveillance. And the things that we do use, we want provided in a competitive market-place where abusive unresponsive or otherwise problematic suppliers cannot simply continue to bill us as much as they wish and use it for whatever they want!

Stability is important but it must not be our supreme value. To do its job a society has to be founded on principles of basic decency and respect for your fellow man. Robbing your fellow man or, if he resists, shooting him, in order to fund your favorite pet project (whether the project itself is worthy or not) simply doesnt fit the bill.

"On the otherhand, I do understand the Libertarian argument that you're taking the fruits of someone's labour to pay for society. But I fail to see how it's any different than paying any other shareholder his fair share of the profits."

Really? You fail to see the difference between a consensual relationship, and a non-consensual one? The difference is clearly in whether or not each individual has the choice of whether or not to enter and remain in the relationship. The consequences of that difference is that consensual relationships inevitably offer a net value to all parties (otherwise consent is not granted or is withdrawn) while non-consensual relationships do not necessarily offer that value, as one or more parties is captive. It seems quite clear, and hardly a trivial distinction.

Comment Re:Taxation wrong? Sorry, don't get it. Foreign. (Score 1) 701

"Although I was talking about the US health system, and you are clearly not a supporter (who is?!) what I haven't heard is any alternatives that you offer, except for the right to self-determination."

I havent put forth any alternatives, except for the alternative I have put forth. Of course if you arbitrarily rule it out (why?) then I guess you will not hear any alternatives, but it doesnt mean I didnt propose one.

Self determination is the key. Respect for human rights is the key. A system built on a foundation of violating both - or a system allowed to grow on a foundation of respecting both, that is the difference between our proposals.

"The problem with that is that it sort of forgets that a market economy is governed by the inefficiencies of marketing - and profit-making. Neither of which are beneficial to the end-user. I wish it were so that humans were less prone to the mechanisms of advertising, but we are, and we make bad decisions on this."

Marketing is a plague, granted. But it is the state, and the welfare mentality, which encourages and exacerbates the weaknesses that are preyed upon.

Never expected a couple of posts on slashdot would make you agree with me against decades of schooling and indoctrination. Happy if maybe I expanded your mind a little, made you aware of a possibility you were previously unaware of. That's the most I would hope for.

Wish you well.

Comment Re:This is ugly (Score 1) 162

"The thing is that so many people seem to forget (apparently you included) is that women are humans and as such behave like humans. Humans are on the whole social animals and there is generally a really bad feeling associated with being the odd one out."

Cry me a bloody river. Please. To a degree this is true and it's always been true, in every profession or other group, and so what? It's just pathetic that you have such an expectation of pampering, for life to have no adversity in it.

"Have you ever been to a computer science confrerence, especially a not especially prestigious one? I have many times and the behaviour on display from my fellow men made me embarrassed to be a guy, to be honest."

Not just at computer science conferences, but many places that is true. You can do some good in those situations as an individual, but I dont see them as justifying let alone necessitating sexist behaviour in retaliation.

Comment Re:Taxation wrong? Sorry, don't get it. Foreign. (Score 1) 701

"I'm still only going to give you a small portion of my income. 0.1% should suffice."

And in the system I advocate, you could say that, while in the system you defend, you cannot. Or you can, but it wont fly, of course. Find a way to refuse (difficult in europe, where the money is nearly always taxed before you get it) and you will eventually see why we say the power of the state grows out of the barrel of the gun.

"Surprisingly I hear from some US citizens that this wouldn't work, which doesn't make sense since most of Europe is proof that it does."

Of course in part that's because Americans tend to be pretty provincial and may not realise the degree to which it does work. But it wont work, not long term. It has worked for a few decades in western Europe on the back of a number of (ultimately unsustainable) distortions, and the system is straining and cracking badly in a number of cases already.

One paradox you face is that while a relatively wealthy nation with a culture that values work and production can maintain a welfare state and pay for it with taxes without destroying your productivity overnight, you still sap the very qualities that make this possible in the longer term. Which is to say, over time doing this makes you a less wealthy nation with a culture that places less value on productive work.

Another is that the spending has been effectively subsidised by the US. It's much easier to find the money for health care if you can simply count on someone else to defend you and skimp on defence. But it might be a big mistake to expect that situation to last forever.

I will give you examples from the country I am most familiar with - Sweden. At the end of WWII Sweden was in an enviable position. Neutrality had preserved Swedish industry, and Swedish companies cleaned up rebuilding the rest of Europe. The social democrats built their ideal welfare state with that wealth, and look what's happened. Sure, it worked to a degree, but as time passed it became more and more untenable. Eventually 'right wing' governments came in and cut costs and rationalised it into quite possibly the best designed welfare state in the world, but it's still sinking. And the areas where it functions best, such as education, have actually morphed from social democrat to nearly libertarian forms in practice.

Comment Re:Taxation wrong? Sorry, don't get it. Foreign. (Score 1) 701

"Of course - derived from the greek city states."

Not at all. Derived ultimately from the band societies that humans lived in for roughly a quarter of a million years *before* the beginnings of the city states.

"The convention of the 'nation state' is a powerful one, which appears to have served us well. "

It may appear that way because the state has many apologists who credit it with good it doesnt do, and sweep the damage it does under the rug whenever possible.

For example, between 1900 and 1999 states around the world murdered around 262,000,000 people in straight up situations of mass murder. (See http://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/NOTE5.HTM Statistics of Democide.)

Comment Re:Taxation wrong? Sorry, don't get it. Foreign. (Score 1) 701

I suggest you re-read my posts and try to find anywhere that I was holding up the us system as a model. (I havent and wouldnt. In fact I already explicitly stipulated that the current US system is even more screwed up than in western Europe. So your reply here is completely off target, it's completely inapplicable.

Comment Re:Taxation wrong? Sorry, don't get it. Foreign. (Score 1) 701

I guess the question is why would any community, should it be given a choice, have voluntarily agreed to such an extraordinarily inefficient and dehumanising way of "providing for itself."

It's a trick question. No one would, without being tricked or bribed. Only a few have to be bribed, and they trick the rest.

Comment Re:Taxation wrong? Sorry, don't get it. Foreign. (Score 1) 701

I, in fact, see very clearly that humans are social animals, and how important society is to us, how critical it is for our ability to thrive.

What you dont see is that the state is not the same thing as the society. Since you attribute all the benefits of society to the state, it's easy to see how you can view it as mostly benevolent, but this is a great miscalculation. Society, voluntary cooperation, community, all those things were old in our species long before the modern state was dreamed up.

Comment Re:Taxation wrong? Sorry, don't get it. Foreign. (Score 1) 701

"The farmer can and should be forced to give a small portion of his sellable produce to fulfill someone elses right not go hungry."

Not enough. I had a very bad year, broke my leg and been out of work for months. Got me an the missus and 7 kids. A small portion aint gonna do it buddy. Now where's our food?

Again, I dont contend that the farmer should be prohibited from contributing what he can afford (and in my experience, they do, constantly, and no one goes hungry around here because of that.) What I object to is your transformation of one mans hunger to another mans *obligation* to take positive action to satisfy that hunger no matter what. That path leads to total breakdown of society, to bloodbath and 'anarchy' in the very worst sense of the word. In highly status-conscious societies like Germany as an example, there is some natural resistance and the path gets trod more slowly, while in certain areas of the US and large parts of the third world it goes much faster, but ultimately it is the same path.

One of the most basic parts of becoming human is learning that you are not omnipotent. And one of the most common failings of humans is refusing to accept that. We keep trying to create a world where nothing can ever go wrong, either through religion (do what we say and no matter how bad it gets here it wont matter, because you're going to heaven) or the state (give us the power to tax and spend, to kidnap and imprison, and we will use it to create paradise on earth) doesnt really matter, because neither can actually provide what they promise, no matter how much is given to them.

So you want to guarantee no one will ever go hungry. Good! I consider that a genuinely worthy goal, and I have spent many a night working on that problem myself as a result. It seems, at first glance, such an easy problem to solve, right? Because we know we produce far more food on the planet than we would actually need to keep everyone alive, right? It's not a production problem, it's a distribution problem. See a nail, grab a blunt object, you have a distribution problem and a government empowered to tax and spend and shoot people, so just have the government gather up some 'excess' food and redistribute it to the people that need it and we have solved one of the big problems of humankind and can give ourselves a great big pat on the back.

If only it were so easy. But in fact it isnt. Hunger isnt a production problem, and it's not a distribution problem either. It's a *political* problem.

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