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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The pot calling the kettle black

While I completely agree with Krugman on this post regarding the hypocrisy of today's Republicans, to a great degree I think Republican intransigence is largely a demon of liberal design.

Or as our forefathers once said: "he who lives by the sword, dies by the sword"

For if you do not fully understand the whole paradox that is our health care debate, I think Keith Hennesy has done a marvelous job explaining it here with a post titled "Four Sided Box".

In a nutshell:

1. You want to enact only the health insurance reforms.
2. You need an individual mandate to make the health insurance reforms work.
3. You need to subsidize lots of people if you implement an individual mandate.
4. You need to cut spending or increase taxes if you want your subsidies not to increase the budget deficit.

You’re right back where you started.

To enact the health insurance reforms, you need a complete bill that includes an individual mandate, subsidies, and politically painful offsets. You can drop the employer mandate, and you certainly don’t need an obscene $1+ trillion of subsidies. My point is simply that you can’t hive off the insurance mandates and make the policy work.

But the one thing the Democrats were not able to do was make those politically unpopular offsets. Indeed they were only able to increase spending.

... FWIW, at least those who are worried about how we name roses will get to say that America's health care system is a little more socialist than privatefor the very first time. Now we are all saved. ;-)

As I have said on numerous occasions, I do not think one can change the underlying structure of our society and the more I see stuff like this the more firm in this conviction I become. We can of course destroy some of the diversity/complexity that got us into this mess in the first place BUT... We have all seen what that did in the world wars of the twentieth century.

Which brings me back to why I posted Krugman, the penultimate public advocate for Keynesianism as a solution for this whole debt cycle mess. For since I think one cannot change the underlying structure of society (except by destroying some of its complexity/diversity) but at the same time, nothing has fundamentally changed in a debt cycle except for our perception of reality, what then is Keynes saying when he says "keep the party going by shifting the debt from the private to the public sector"?

Of course he too is basically saying the same thing as I- namely the underlying structure of society is immutable. But if he is saying this, how can he also be a liberal since wasn't reducing income/wealth inequality the core principle of defining oneself as liberal? Propping up the whole debt thing might keep the party going, but it certainly does not fix inequality? What gives?

I might remind you that inequality is a form of complexity/diversity. Further we know the best way to destroy complexity/diversity (inequality) is to simply eliminate it.

Well, did you know Keynes was a eugenicist?

... As I said before, the more I read, the more the dots are starting to line up.

Are the Republicans really the cruel ones in this issue? Are the Democrats?

Of course it depends on "whose viewpoint' is looking at the issues? What are their "kin boundaries", etc..? What do they want their world to look like?

Totalitarianism is built into the very fabric of the universe.


Thai said...

For your comments

Debra said...

clarify please, Thai : what is "the unchanging underlying structure of society" to you ?
What is the complexity that got destroyed in the WW of the 20th century ? I am not following ; you are assuming too much.
Why say that it is impossible to CHANGE society ?
I think that the PROBLEMS that the social order faces, and that must be adressed in one way or another are unchanging, but that the framework evolved to deal with these problems can change quite a bit.
Under this idea, you see no difference between monarchy and democracy, Thai ?
WHY do you see no difference ?
Explain, please.
The snow is winding you up like Ronald McDonald. All those posts. I'm not sure I can keep up.. ;-)

Thai said...

Indeed it is.

And at some level "no", there is no difference between monarch and democracy- it depends on the viewpoint you want to look at the question from.

Having said that, some roses just don't smell right to me. ;-)

Thai said...

Deb, everything is made of energy. It just becomes a matter of how we divide that energy up into more or less complex structures.

Thai said...

You not understand this in me implies that you have misunderstood many of my points.

Remember, this discussion goes back to the conservation of energy discussion SS did not like. The conservation of energy creates a fundamental boundary condition on everything.

Remember, the only thing I have come to see in society is a massive scale invariant fractal of cooperation creating what is called a Bose-Einstein condensate.

Complexity or diversity is a primary reason there is so much difficulty with cooperation in today's society.

Thai said...

Look at Yo, Arabs smell good to him while Jews?... Not so much.

I see the two as "what's the difference"?

Debra said...

But Thai...
Your "philosophy", by suggesting that everything is in everything is in everything abolishes the very idea of difference.
To me, we are NOT saying the same thing at all.
If I say that every disadvantage has its advantage, and vice versa, it does not seem the same thing to me as your viewpoint idea.
You seem to sit back in an armchair with this point of view thing. Like you know who...
It's not because you know that everything is made of energy and that IN THE LONG RUN energy will be conserved that that excuses you from examining all the details of the process of going from beginning to end.
This is too intellectually comfy for me, Thai.
And it allows YOU to sit on the sidelines while important ethical questions are being raised.

Thai said...

With no "right" answers- true.

And I am most definitely not on the sidelines.

Thai said...

1. You are the one who does not see a boundary between the individual and the collective so you are not being "rational" ;-)

But in the end, if I do not like the smell of your rose, what am I to do?

Destroy it? Cooperate with it never the less? Change it?

It is not at all obvious to me when you are talking about one person making these decisions for everyone as it does become zero sum.

I'll do it for myself, and decide who I will either cooperate with or resist/try to change.

Give me the power to do it for everyone and I will solve society's problem in a week- but I will create another.

This is why I am on less comfortable ground prescribing universal solutions.

Thai said...

But as you know I am a cynic and I do have an opinion on how I would like the world to look.

Thai said...

And if I am allowed to Change/destroy any part of society I do not like whenever I want as there is no boundary between myself and the collective, then nothing is sacred and everything can change.

And if I can do this, everyone can do this.

Yet if the collective is allowed to change things whenever it wants, etc... then if I do not like the change/want the change or you do not like the change/want the change but must accept it, then we are nothing but slaves.

This is the future that Yo fears. Yet the things he hates repackaged under a different smell are exactly the same thing he likes when they come under this new brand.

Thai said...

Deb, have you been following any of the discussion on complexity/chaos?

They line the blogs everywhere if you look for them.

Debra said...

But one person NEVER makes the decisions that you seem to be talking about here.
What one person COULD make the decisions ?
The decisions are made by the social body itself, Thai.
While we maintain that WE are the individuals making the decisions.
I am NOT making any decisions in your place, but I am suggesting that individual ATTITUDES nevertheless can have great impact on the decisions that, ultimately, the SOCIAL BODY makes.
Like fear of declassement on the "decision" to escalate into the war on drugs, for example.
I definitely think that the 1973 oil panic is VERY responsible for the war on drugs.

Debra said...

Thai... your last formulation "if I am allowed to change whatever, etc" falls prey to the very difficulty I'm highlighting.
You are theorizing it in a binary fashion : I, the individual vs the collective.
Don't worry about "nothing" being sacred. Human beings are NOT structured that way.
What is "sacred" is simply displaced from one object to another. This is what I mean when I say that when you throw God out the door, he comes back in through the window. For proof, you just need to look at the French secularism situation, as I have already pointed out on numerous occasions.
The collective can NOT do whatever "it" wants, Thai, for the simple reason that the collective is US.
The collective is made up of parts of us that we have ejected out into the public sphere for complex psychological reasons.
The fascinating debate is on the "frontiers" between what is public and what is private.
These frontiers are shifting all the time.
The current nation state is in big trouble. All over the world, as a matter of fact.
The mission of "government" is in the midst of receiving a serious overhaul.
We shall see.

Thai said...

re: "The decisions are made by the social body itself, Thai."

But I wonder if this is where you may have not been following the complexity/chaos arguments- they are really the classic evolution arguments only seen from a slightly different viewpoint ;-).

The whole of anything such as a social body can fracture into respective sub-component segments where the sum of the parts equals the original whole.

FWIW- this is complexity in a nutshell and also FWIW chaos is when one of these sub-components changes and you then try to put the whole back together again including this changed part- it causes changes in every other part of the system.

This is the same science physicians use and they way weathermen model the weather, etc... AND the way people like Hell look at investing/economics.

Anyway, if the parts are relatively similar when they come together, it is not too hard for them to reconnect and cooperate. But if they are very different after a change, then connection/cooperation is harder and it takes a lot more time/work to reconnect.

And while people can spend the time/energy to reconnect, you must remember the idea that time = money, etc... So if the differences are very great, and it takes a lot of time to work these differences out, AND something happens in the intervening time before people have had a chance to work them out, then think a spark igniting dry kindling- "boom!" conflict/chaos, etc... arises in what is known as "the butterfly effect".

I think we talked about this before...

Indeed, Yo hates change. As to some degree do I.

Anyway, the crux of the argument is that "complexity is our enemy" and it is largely complexity which is felt to be one of the reasons people segregate into their respective social classes, etc...

People move to their "safety zones" so to speak.

And as you yourself have commented, for teams to form from these common places, they must have a common purpose/goal, etc...

Do you think there is such uniformity of purpose/goal in the world?

Personally I am of two minds on this front but I think in general "yes".

Indeed, I am not sure whether you are following the dissolution of the newspapers as their readers are fracturing into their respective sub-components- e.g. blogs, etc... where people go to reinforce their own particular moral views of the world, etc...

This is creating quite a stir as we see that FOX (quite conservative) is that largest sub-component of the whole and it thus now the largest player in news media, etc...

Indeed the internet is facilitating this whole fracturing of the whole into its component sub-parts.

We are part of that trend as we write back and forth.

Thai said...

And re: The collective can NOT do whatever "it" wants, Thai, for the simple reason that the collective is US.

This is a matter of semantics.

When the collective takes action it is from one viewpoint.

Whose viewpoint is that action?

If you are not happy about that action, then for all practical purposes, it is doing whatever IT wants since it is not doing what YOU want.

Even if I am part of a group, the group will often not act the way I wish it to.

Thai said...

And if the collective decides to follow a viewpoint on what it holds sacred that I strongly disagree with, then it may hold something sacred but it isn't what I hold sacred so we are back to the same problem.

Complexity is both our friend and our enemy.

Kind of like the old saying we both have of the opposite sex: We can't live with and we can't live without.

Debra said...

Indeed, I see the blog situation as a good example of fragmentation.
But our blog is different from many blogs that I see.
In many blogs, there is one person spouting off, in monologue fashion, and then other people "comment", so that it is not correct to talk about dialogue in this context.
Everybody wants to be an atom in order to express him/her self.
And he/she wants to be a victim when things don't go the way he/she likes.
Time is NOT money.
That is Protestant propaganda.
You can get money back if you have "lost "it.
Not time.
Your model, and Hell's does not integrate human psychology.
You MAY think that you can discount human psychology, but I don't think so.
And it MAY or may not conform to chaos/complexity theories.
Nothing proves it does.
Nothing proves it doesn't either.

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