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Sunday, May 30, 2010


Surely we all want to be compassionate cooperators. Yet also pragmatic, system-evaluating thermodynamicists. Is it possible to reconcile?

Observation #1: Giving money to people who don't have enough money seems like a nice thing to do. Assuming that the only problem is the intake of money and once they have it they'll manage it wisely. Perhaps the problem is more extensive (intake and spending) or even the opposite (just spending). In these last two options, giving them money almost seems like a sick joke on them.

Observation #2: Americans don't seem to have a clear vision of what poverty actually is. In other places on the globe people starve to death. That is actual tragedy. It seems Americans have come to define any sort of threat to self-esteem as tragedy. I have heard people with cell phones cooler than mine, in jeans more expensive than my Levis, bitching about the cost of insurance on their cars that are newer than mine. Perhaps they are not aware of the geek option? Perhaps there should be reality TV shows called Real Lives of the Solvent?

Observation #3: We have had this national identity of self-reliance, rugged individualism, and free will. But we gotta be realistic. If someone throws themselves on the mercy of the collective, the collective has the right to set some boundaries. I seem to have some hazy recollection of a proposal to require welfare recipients use birth control; there was backlash that this was infringing on their free will. OH COME ON!! If you someone tells the collective "I can not manage my life right now" then they're lucky if the collective offers to step in and manage it for them. Lucky, I say!! If your decisions thus far have gotten you into this situation, maybe you need a break from making decisions. So yeah, pee in this cup.

Hmmm. I'm not sure if I'm becoming a Libertarian or a Communist....


Dr John said...

You know you are becoming a Libertarian Dink. The truth is the other just does not work. Being a Libertarian is not perfect either because humans are not perfect therefore govt. cannot be perfect. To para-phrase Churchill:It's the worst system of govt. Except for all the others.

Any form of govt that does not take this into account does not recognize human nature. Communism/socialism will always fail because it fails to take into account human nature. As much as I love to hear Thai plea for us all to cooperate and I agree with him, I know we as a species will always in the end fail to do so as a group for long.

I know Churchill was referring to democracy but what he was really talking about was the price of individual freedom. There is no perfect form of govt. and we cannot come up with one where we take care of everyone's needs in the same manner regardless of what they put into the system or how they behave.

As Thai often implies because it us beyond our control to stop and it will implode at some point.

Thai said...

I tend to see it as giving anything to anyone who cannot control themselves around whatever you are giving has a way of coming back and biting you. It can be money to some, but it can be a whole lot more to others.

... And I'm sure someone who has a problem with spending would say they would not have a problem if they had more income. ;-)

All the perspectives in this post are completely valid/I honestly do understand.

Of course someone if someone has a child, the child also has a unique perspective in this issue.

1. I'm sure they aren't that upset they were brought into the world.
2. Is it their fault their parent can't afford them?
3. Even if you are willing to burn bridges with the parent, do you also want to burn them with the child?
4. Etc...

Indeed John. Yet I think it fair to add that if and when "it" implodes, I'm not at all sure that I know who the survivors will be.

In a closed system, risk is always conserved. ;-)

Dink said...

"it fails to take into account human nature.

Okay, so here is my "lets synthesize all the data thus far into a grand unified theory (which I'll later look back on as completely ludicrous)" rant.

Communism won't work because unless you adopt by free will you will resent it.

Libertarianisn offers free will, but until you reach a certain maturity level you'll use the freedom to self-destruct (and eco-destruct and other-destruct). If you can self-manage and follow rules that you've created, great.

Somehow we have to social engineer people to, of their own free will, follow rules (either of their own creation or collective-created).

Because there is no one "human nature". Its dynamic and develops based on experience. How do we make everyone have the same experiences at the same time?

Crap. Looks like we'll have to try some blend of "Brave New World" and "The Matrix". Was soma a blue pill?

Debra said...

The problem is that...
Once you have decided that you are going to authorize your government to engage in any form of strong arm tactics... "it" authorizes its strong arm tactics FOR EVERYONE.
Not just the welfare recipients.
Once the rules and regulations start mushrooming, they tend to take on a momentum that NOTHING and NO-ONE can stop. The snowball effect.
And... eventually your government turns into a big policeman, carrying a big stick.
For everybody, not just the welfare recipients.
Your government loses its volition, its mission to federate people around a collectivity that is inclusive, (what taxes do, to a great effect...) AS it becomes a policeman whose mission is to single people out in an exclusive fashion to punish them.
And eventually, under this perverse logic...we ALL become potential wrongdoers, or criminals.
You may not see this happening in the U.S., but i certainly do.
Too bad. For the welfare recipients, in my book, because as the crisis continues, there are going to be more and more people who will need welfare.
And the social body will continue pointing its finger at its individual members, instead of.. revising its opinion of ITSELF, and the ideas that it espouses as truth. The social body seems to function exclusively in... either/or mode.

Debra said...

Thai.. my friends who occasionnally go on binge spending episodes definitely think they have a problem, so... THAT's not the problem, is it ?
Total control will not make you happy.
It might make a.. safe world, but that world will be a... DEAD one you wouldn't want to live in anyway.
Not if you are the least bit interested in being free..
Being free is risky.

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