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Sunday, August 2, 2009


Any right to life has to be weighed with some notion of viable life, whether as a patient on life sustaining apparatus or a fetus. I do not wish to enter this debate, clearly a complex and emotional one.

But if there is a right to life which forbids the taking of human life than there is certainly in a regime of private property a right to work at a "living" wage for how else is that life to sustain itself? As private property has shorn the earth of its natural ability to sustain the individual whose unfortunate circumstances of birth leaves him or her dispossessed their ability to hunt, gather, farm or otherwise access the bounties of the earth, water, food and all except the air, how is he to live. Society gives him the possibility to reclaim a right on these resources only through work. But if society can not offer this alternative because of unemployment or other conditions the right to life is usurped. It would not be excessive to call those who oppose employment programs for the unemployed as "murderers," certainly passive if not active for they withhold the essentials of life to the same degree as a warden who refuses food to his prisoner, a doctor who withholds care or a parent who neglects his children.


Debra said...

But you're assuming that work should be indexed to money.
Are you sure that this is a good assumption ?
What about... VOLUNTEER work ?
What about work in the home ?
These are ALL work, and the fact that they exist without monetary compensation is very important in determining the value of work itself.
Now, we can shuffle the cards, and throw words around, and call volunteer work something besides "work", but it still remains work to a great extent in people's minds.
Work and private property are not necessarily on the same wavelength.
I kind of like the idea of some kind of allotment given to everyone in order to ensure basic needs. But how would we fund it ? And I'm sure this idea has its drawbacks that I have not thought through.
Actually, more and more people are exchanging services without fiat money. And people are working in exchange for services without going through the deal of fiat money.
All this is going on at the fringe of society, but, you know, the fringe of society is ALWAYS where innovation REALLY comes from.

SS said...


I think that Thai and you are engaged in obfuscation, whether conscious or not I don't know, to protect your perceived class interests. It's not that complicated. LOL.


Debra said...

What do you mean, obfuscation ?
And what would my perceived class interests BE, perchance ?
Remember, you are talking to someone who gave up work, threw over official status and recognition in a psychoanalytic institution, is completely dependant on her husband for financial support, and hangs out on internet forum with self and psychiatric diagnosed schizophrenics in addition to old psy friends.
Now, tell me what my CLASS interests are, SS...

SS said...

"Obfuscation" - being on a topless beach in a veil.

Perceived class interests* - DAR status, vacations in Bornes les Mimosa, the privilege of discussing with avowed intellectuals like Dink and myself.

*Normally this is whatever one is desperate to hold on to but I'll try a few suggestive choices. LOL.


Debra said...

LOL, I wouldn't wear a veil on a topless beach, but I would be capable of keeping the bottom on at a nudist beach.
I don't flash my DAR status very often. Not that I'm ashamed of it, but I don't have many opportunities !!!
Now; I agree, two months of vacation this year is a bit much, but... this is MY HUSBAND'S money, not mine, you know.
You're not suggesting that I dump him in order to REALLY experience the marginal status I keep harping on ?
After all these years, I'm kind of attached to him. Like me, he has his good points, and his bad ones...

Thai said...

SS, I actually completely agree with you that at some level these two concepts have a degree of equivalence... I disagree with your use of the term "murderer", but that is another discussion.

Remember, I am "double death". For me it is not a class justification issue at all more than it is a way of justifying the living; I strongly believe the present belongs to the living.

I am not for crazy notions of all life all the time under all circumstances. I do not think people can do whatever they want, have as many children as they want, whenever they want, etc... whatever the consequences to the rest of us and somehow think the rest of us have to "accept this" under all circumstances (and this includes myself... and "yes, yes I know I have 4 kids").

There are always finite constraints in a world with finite resources. Ideas like a right to life taken to extremes are absurd. The conservation of energy ALWAYS wins.

I know there are many people in many parts of the world who will disagree with me on this... Indeed you live in a hotbed of this thinking in VA... but I do not believe people can do whatever they want and expect the rest of us to pick up the tab.

Responsibilities to each other, absolutely "yes" but these bonds between each other are not inviolate.

Again, it always gets back to that old adage: "it depends".

Dink said...

Glad to see the posting issue seems to have resolved itself since I would have no idea how to fix it.

"obfuscation... to protect your perceived class interests"

You do like to provoke, yes? I love the internet, but do regret that non-verbal cues can't be conveyed (i.e. a mischievous twinkle in the eye of the speaker to let the listener know their statement was a playful tease versus a true accusation).

I thought of you this weekend. I was in Mazama (I had never heard of it even though I've lived in WA for 15 years) and it was ridiculous with perfect scenery (forest, river, mountains, glaciers, wildflowers, chipmunks). I thought smugly "This is as good as anything in Europe!" Then I thought "Except its missing some castles and nearby beaches...Crap!". Later in the day a German lady at the inn described public, indoor waterparks where everyone frolics nekkid. Sigh.

Somewhere back in these recents posts you described necessary limits to free riders taking advantage of the group's desire for stability. I whole-heartedly agree. Moral hazards are fractal; as damaging to the individual as they are to the group.

Also, you mentioned "cash is trust" in regards to the econ blogosphere. I smirk when I see people write that fiat currency is just worthless paper; as if the papers that say you own your house and have legal rights are written on "magic" paper. Societal constructs are at the whim of the group's will.

Back to SS-
"or a parent who neglects his children"

I break into a rash when people describe the gov as a parent. The gov is a kluge made up of our peers, not superiors. If I can't think up of a way to perfectly manage the group, how can I expect them to? As bad as unemployment rates are this country currently, its worse when you consider the fact that we have a lot of people in the military who will soon not be needed and a lot of people in prisons who will someday be released. They'll need jobs too. We have surplus population. Its troubling.

SS said...

@ Thai
" I do not believe people can do whatever they want and expect the rest of us to pick up the tab."

I hope that most Socialists would agree I do. People could either work in the jobs program or get nothing. Even work could be found for the disabled. Doing useful work would attenuate your fear of people cheating you and be much fairer to the truly unemployed who suffer greatly in the current system.

@ Dink

As for the wink in the eye, boy was I winking when I saw that veiled topless girl.


Debra said...

This one reminds me of La Fontaine, La Cigale et le Fourmis.
(The cicada and the ant)
The cicada spent all summer singing on her branch while the ant sweated it out, working working working to put food on the table for the winter.
When winter arrived the cicada went to see the ant for help, and was told "where were you when I was sweating it out, etc etc. You sang all summer, well, you can just dance now."
This attitude, my friends, is a totalitarian, and entitlement one, one which has resurfaced since Christian ethics have deserted our culture.
It takes all kinds to make a world.
It takes... cicadas AND ants.
The cicadas sing so that the ants can have beautiful music while they work. And the cicadas sing better than the ants do, don't they ?
Is this totalitarian thinking or is this TOTALITARIAN thinking, you guys ?

Thai said...

Agreed it is totalitarian.

And the criticism that it is totalitarian is also totalitarian.

Thai said...

Deb (AKA cicada), before you think you are immune from totalitarianism, please remember the conservation of energy always reigns supreme and the physics of war are quite clear.

War is fractal

Totalitarianism is simply part of everything else-e.g. "it is what it is"

The collective will do what it will do and neither you nor I will ever have the ability to control nor stop this in the end.

Debra said...

Uh uh, Thai, I think that you are wrong on this one.
The criticism that it is "totalitarian" is NOT NECESSARILY totalitarian, because that depends on the spirit in which the "criticism" or observation was made.
Your thinking annuls thinking, Thai, and I don't think (LOL) that this is what you want to do.
Something is totalitarian when I insist that it is the ONLY way of seeing things, and should be the only way. And that, while enouncing it, I am placing myself OUTSIDE of my criticism (objectivism).
I do NOT think that I am immune from totalitarian thinking, as totalitarian thinking is HUMAN, and as you point out, no-one escapes from it totally...
I happen to think that the idea(l ?) of the collective you express is extremely TOTALITARIAN, Thai, and personal and professional experience still lead me to conclude that the most difficult task for any individual is to assess and appreciate the nature of free will and individual responsibility that fall to us.
I mentioned on another Internet forum that for most people these days, it is ABSOLUTELY IMPOSSIBLE to imagine that Lee Harvey Oswald COULD HAVE BEEN acting on his little old lonesome to kill JFK.
Because the human mind has a very hard time getting a grip on individual, personal responsibility.
Your theory sounds determinist.
In my book, determinism is a constant temptation in human thinking. But in the long run, it is reductionist. And in a subtle way, it depreciates our idea of who we are, and what we are capable of, both for good, and evil.
And I like complicated theories/ideas.
Because life, and living things are complicated to me. At least, I try to see them as so.

The Most Fabulous Objects In The World

  • Hitchhiker's Guide To The Universe trilogy
  • Lord of the Rings trilogy
  • Flight of the Conchords
  • Time Bandits