Monday, March 29, 2010

In response to "Universal Health Care is not Socialism"

As with everything including socialism, it isn't an argument about whether or not it should be regulated or rationed or whatever but about WHO gets to regulate and ration. When things are not regulated they can get out of control when it is important. That does not provide any basis or argument for any particular person or group to step in and do the regulating.

Every moment of your life and all things around you are regulated in one manner or another. For example rainfall is heavily regulated by temperature, and how often I see my doctor is regulated by how well I am feeling and how much money I have. Whether or not a person opens a business is regulated by ... err.. you get the point.

Before trying to fix something and reaching for the biggest tool you can find, ask yourself this question: What is a government? Where does it come from? What can governments do? What can government NOT do? A really fun question is what are some good things governments can and can not do vs bad things governments can and can not do contrasted with should not and list why.

Sometimes I wish I could punch Thomas Hobbes in the face for not explaining his work to people that would wish to take his observations out of context and try to reason that they were laws of nature and society. His observation was that the mass majority will comply with ever increasing government because any single step towards greater control always seems less harmful than the idea of "returning to a state of nature", or no government. Further, people tend to look at government control as freedom from responsibility, which is generally true, and for the consumer relief from responsibility by government means it may or may not only be easier for them such that it is a win win situation. Health Care for example: the class of individuals needing medical care mutually exclusive of medical providers believes that either 1)they are going to get something for free, 2) nothing is going to change for them. This class so greatly out numbers health care providers that their opinion is irrelevant. Therefore, logically, median voter says government takeover of health care can be good thing. It would also baffle the mind of most people to understand why anyone could possibly oppose a perpetually more powerful government. Also, if you agree with Hobbes (which is so deeply rooted in modern western thought anyway) we "know" that government only gets larger because the only way for it to get smaller would be for a significant number of people so opposed to whatever the government is doing that they would be willing to do without it completely. Such a situation is SO rare, who cares, right? Next, once we have accepted that government is going to only get bigger, and just take the leap forward that since progress is directly correlated to the size of government therefore government tends towards improving society.

Yeah, so all your arguments about how if it is important then we need to create a government bureaucracy, or more so, you are going to keep sitting on your ass while someone else both creates and another becomes the victim of a government bureaucracy is no argument at all, just a shibboleth of your political ideology.

And can you please explain your signature? Is your argument: Socialism = bad, Universal Health Care = good, therefore Universal Health Care != Socialism? It is almost like you make an argument against socialism, but then don't ... therefore you are right. What?!? Back to the earlier check your reality and try again questions. What is a government? What is the general structure or philosophy behind a socialist ideology? Where when and how does it work and for what purpose? Where may or may not this ideology be incompatible with the theory of what a government can and can not be, and under what circumstances or steps might be taken to mitigate possible shortfalls of socialism?

So how about this:
Health Care is a good thing and universal elements of it are tried and true rules of the industry. We love, value and honor people that enter the profession when it is what they choose to do so freely with the time, intellect, and resources that they are given on earth, and despite however they may choose to organize, or whatever mistakes they may make, we will not inflict the will of the people upon them because universality of any particular system is no measure by which others may make judgments of them. Also, indirectly related, we believe that life is both not so important and yet too precious at the same time that our lives or anyone else's life would be better managed by another than the principle individual without their consent as aspects of socialist philosophy might have us believe.

So get over it.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Citizens United v. FEC

(Note: Old article I had planned on posting 3/25, but I do not know why I did not get any further than saving it as a draft. Anyway, whatever I was planning on adding I may get around to at some later time.)

I greatly enjoyed reading your post to Alan Grayson's page on Citizen's United v. FEC. Having heard so much from different writers I am finally getting to reading the transcript. Your arguments had significantly greater depth than others that I have read. In particular, I was very disappointed by the reaction of Lawrence Lessig whom I expect you are familiar with.

So it seems that the general argument is that we don't want quid pro quo elections, and law has many restrictions. It seems to stand out from your post that you believe that corporations are inherently evil, but even aside from that the McCain Feingold Act was not only much more sweeping, but make special partisan exceptions.

The legal question to me seemed to be whether the government had been prudent in narrowly addressing a systemic problem, or just banged at it with a hammer until they felt better about the issue without really considering the possible adverse side affects.

Whether or not you may have been in the minority of people that may have been interested in this film this isn't even a question of what they said but at the heart of whether or not they had a right to say it. And as if Theador Oleson's request for an open mind to adverse side effects, such as his mention that 97% of corporations are "mom and pop stores", the argument that "well what we really mean are the big money corporations" is exactly the point he tries to make. Follow that up with Elena Kagan affirmation of the censorship of little American business people, but that the big foreign owned media corporations effectively do whatever they want. Kagan demonstrated that the law, if upheld, would give the government the power to censor any and all political speech not done on a soap box.

This case didn't come down to a proper application of a good rule but an attack against specific speech someone didn't like, never mind it was big money opposition. And as you point out, there is nothing the court can do not. Clinton still lost, but that does not address that a group of people (like them or not) intended to purposefully express themselves as a meaningful time and place and were not allowed to. The manner in which the individuals to that assembly carried far too much weight in a way that really wasn't appropriate.

Personally, I love this case because to me it is a reminder of the wisdom that a bad law is NOT better than the absence of a good law. I think it is the law that was so overreaching in an attempt to address a great fear that it missed completely. Blame Congress for that, not the supreme court.

Don't worry, I know I stand alone in this belief, but since you seem to be very well read on the issue, I would be interested in your opinion of those aspects.

Thanks in advance for taking the time to respond if you do. If you don't have time or what not, thanks again anyway for your article.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A longer rant

@Esoteric0714 Sigh, I only have time to slap one libtard a day, so feel lucky. You say something, and someone else says "STFU", you are BOTH exercising freedom of speech. Also, I really recommend you not spending so much time getting your critical thinking skills from listening to Nancy Pelosi, one day stupid might hurt and you will be in trouble. The Constitutional Convention that created the Constitution NULLIFIED the Articles of Confederacy, and the reason for it was to throw out (nullify) the British national system the founders admired but recognized the need to be decentralize if once this republic was put into place were to not become what we had finally thrown off. The problem with the Articles of Confederation was its FAILURE to properly nullify British rule as seem when the British attacked New York.

Also, you talk about the founders of the confederacy vs. constitution as if they were different people from a different time. So for your own sake, please pick up a history book and read it.

Btw, I still don't understand how a person without education or any feeling for how the government is run with respect to their personal responsibility even bothers opening their mouth on the discussion of how that system might be transformed. Is it a principle of "the loudest hobo catches the most dole", or "The greater the kiss ass, the greater the mouth full"? Guess that is just one of life's mysteries. I guess Machiavelli's failure was just a fluke.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Contract

I am not sure if this is going to be expanded into a short story, but I would like to think that it will. This started as a Slashdot reply, and turned into something a bit more. I might like to keep this a secret, but it seems posts to this blog are pretty much a secret anyway, so who cares. Btw, this was a response to a statement made about the preamble to the constitution and the statement about "general welfare."


Even the most basic understanding of contracts modern or historical gives simple clarity. If I make an agreement with my neighbors for the purpose of landscaping in order to create a more perfect neighborhood and the general welfare of the street, to reduce cost, time, and effort to that need, we would need to specify what that means. For example, within the contract we specify that ABC Landscaping will be the agent to the contract, and they have the right to determine how many times a month on which days our lawns will be mowed, so long as they are specified in advance; the amount of water and fertilizer necessary to promote healthy growth. If ABC Landscaping informs us that the best lawn is one mowed every other day, that was left to their discretion because it is specified in the contract. If we think this is excessive, it is not a contract violation per se, but a fault of the parties. In such a case you would probably want to notify that even if it is in the best interest of the lawn that you really didn't want the lawns mowed 15 times a month. On the other hand, if ABC Landscaping installed fences and lawn gnomes in every yard and converted one persons lawn to be a community pool, they have clearly violated the contract no matter how much they may argue that it contributes to the general welfare of the neighborhood as specified in the preamble.

The situation we have is to imagine a neighborhood of renters where the contract is made between the landlords, ABC Landscaping is still the agent but the cost of the landscaping is not included in the rent. Further, ABC Landscaping can sue you if you do not pay them. The problem we have is that ABC Landscaping has decided to convert all our yards into a giant admission free amusement park. And as if the Landlord we almost never see not caring wasn't enough, any complaints about this possibly having gone a bit too far are met with the kids throwing a fit over loosing their free amusement park and redouble that with the Union of Amusement Park Ride Operators crying that you are trying to kill jobs and put people out on the street.

This really isn't what you bargained for, but you are providing jobs, and the teenagers are reasonably well behaved. It is a bit on the expensive side, but hell, you even enjoy the rides every so often.

Now ABC Landscaping puts on their thinking caps. There really isn't any room for any more rides, but still they would like to make the amusement park better. So they get the brilliant idea of adding concession stands with free food for anyone visiting the amusement park! Everyone is thrilled, right? And anyone that complains must want people to starve to death or at very least just be miserable, right? "Buy your own damn food!" How cold is that? What possible reason could people really have for not wanting free food when everyone can get some?

To be continued...

Monday, March 22, 2010

The democracy of open source

My criticisms of democracy only go as far as to agree with what James Madison and H.L. Menkin said about democracy. To say that if you reject pure democracy then you must prefer an dictator and that all dictators are evil is just absurd. Some things just should not be a majority vote of anyone that has an opinion just as science does not become truth with consensus.

Open Source is a meritocracy where your voice is heard relative to your contribution and against the weight of the merit of your opposition. The best part is that nobody's basic necessities are dependent upon the success of the open source project but in very limited circumstances, and money is not the primary driving force behind decision making.

Open source community in general is good at keeping communication lines open and the pool of ideas is greatly valued. If democracy to you is where a lot of people are free to give input, fine, but I don't want to hear you complain when the idea board is flooded with "make it work better", and "this sucks, you should do it different."

In my humble opinion, "democracy" is a very poor word choices to describe the nature of the open source community, or even an individual project.

Microsoft listens and then does whatever people ask for. The Linux community listens to people, but then does it right. Maybe democracy is the best form of government / organization for many reasons, but that doesn't mean the shortcomings simply don't exist. What frequently impresses me the most about the open source community is the ability to gather such diverse input without blinding people from doing what they know is most practical in principle to the best of their knowledge. I see it as fundamentally more beautiful than democracy without loss of generality for its merits.

Freedom, to be discussed politely over coffee.

The US Supreme Court has never been one much for challenging congress. I am sure the supreme court will find some argument why this this is not unconstitutional rather than face the wrath of both branches of government. What needs to happen for the first time in history (and is well on its way) is an Article V Section 2 convention that 1) Does what Arizona did, bar government control over health care, collect taxes or spend money on health care, and imprison any individual entering the state for such purpose as treason. 2) Repeal the 17th amendment; the constitution is a contract BETWEEN the states, and the Federal government is an agent to that contract. The federal government has no sovereignty than what the states choose to give. The parties to that contract need to be responsible for maintaining it. 3) Clarify the due process clause of the 14th amendment; The bill of rights are a clarification of what the states wanted to make clear that the Federal government had no right to touch with the limited power it was given. Any and all "rights" of the bill of rights desired of the citizens of a state should demand that they be incorporated into their own constitution as that is the only place in which individual protections from all government or other private individuals is meant to be. Again, Bill of Rights as Obama puts it is a list of negative liberties for the Fed as they rightfully should be, as they were intended. 4) Clarify the interstate commerce clause. The interstate commerce clause does not mean that the federal government has as it pleases the power to regulate any and all things that might possibly have an impact on the economy but instead, as it was intended, to ensure that conflicting state laws do not hinder business across state lines, in other words, minimalistically remove barriers to interstate commerce.

Thank goodness for the wisdom of George Mason that insisted on the last minute addition of Article V Section II that allows states to reign in the Fed with NO "approval" of Congress, the Supreme Court, and certainly not the president.

This is the last resort to save this country. The people that still think freedom is worth fighting for must be the ones that take the power back. The idea that the Federal government is going to reign itself because of some morally guiding light suddenly sparking in the minds of the supreme court justices that freedom be necessarily inflicted upon the American people like Health Care "Reform" is laughable. Such action could only be scorned because those apathetic individuals that believe fighting for freedom is someone else's job only see freedom as responsibility someone else may free them from.

Today is a dark day, but there is hope today will be a call for apathetic people to wake up and ask what America once was and do what is necessary to take it back.

Friday, March 19, 2010

48 hours of freedom

Other than government regulations (Mostly state regulations) that have sold non competition agreements, individuals have (for another 48 hours) the right to pick a difference health provider and different ways of ensuring their health including but not limited to a comprehensive HMO or limiting themselves to catastrophic illness insurance and paying cash for everything else.

This is "the right of the people", aka the mob, again bringing the right change for everybody by finally voting in the right person to lead, versus ensuring individuals the freedom to make informed decisions that meet their needs.

The counter argument is that people are too stupid, and those not too stupid are too greedy to be trusted with such responsibility. Personally, I find such notion offensive and that while that philosophy may have dominated for a long time I believe we over came such "negativity" with the enlightenment, and for those that were paying attention, what was once the Great American Experiment proved otherwise.

I see the temptation, and I entertained it myself when I was younger, that government and most of peoples lives could be better managed by panels of experts, helping us with difficult decisions and help mitigate some of the greatest risks that too many people unnecessarily loose their lives over, simply because they did not understand the risks of their endeavors (Not purchasing insurance, saving for retirement, heating healthy, exercising regularly, etc.) Common sense drives us to this conclusion with so many examples of pain that might have been avoided with a little intervention. It is likely why it is not a new idea. Particularly in the last 100 years we have seen example after example of great leaders making promises that in the near future life would be fair and that all we need is to cooperate and give a little bit more. Dissenters are always marked as heartless and uncaring, that they do not know as much as the experts, or just too stupid to understand the bigger picture.

Community is a great thing, but that does not mean that it can be forced upon someone then used as an example of its own greatness.

We'll miss you America.