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Thread: Ubuntu 14.04 Codename Revealed, Mir Haters Attacked

  1. #161
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    I will give you credit for actually moving to debate points.

    Quote Originally Posted by DanLamb View Post
    Society should accept and adapt to material inequality that occurs as a completely natural part of a society based on personal and community choice and responsibility. I don't accept that society must battle inequality to stay valid and ethical. This may be a more root distinction between us. If I did believe that material inequality must be stopped by any means necessary, I probably would support an all powerful central government structure that would override personal and community freedoms to achieve that aim. To me that seems wildly unjust.
    My problem with your statement is that I do not believe those are actually freedoms that are being exercised by individuals or communities, but powers which I feel are much better handled by a publicly controlled entity, such as but not limited to, a central government.

    Richard Stallman and Bradley Kuhn wrote a very good article on the subject which defines the distinction as thus:
    Freedom is being able to make decisions that affect mainly you; power is being able to make decisions that affect others more than you. If we confuse power with freedom, we will fail to uphold real freedom.
    http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/freedom-or-power.html

    Ultimate power in society should not be rested in the hands of single individuals or even certain designated groups. A public entity that is democratically chosen is, for the moment, the best means available to us to ensure power in society is rested in the hands of the public for the public good. That being said, I am perfectly fine with the delegation of powers in order to create more flexible solutions to regional or specific problems, as long as a higher power exits in order to ensure the greater will of the public is upheld.

    Quote Originally Posted by DanLamb View Post
    Any system that insulates people from the cost of the services that they consume is inherently cost inefficient. The equality mindset is a more logical rationale for public health care. I don't think there is a logical case to be made that it is cheaper to society. It's cheaper in the sense that the cost is hidden to individuals as they consume service so at a superficial level it may feel free, but ultimately it is still a cost to society and the people within the society.
    You forget that health is not an individual problem. When a society does not take care of its health problems, the quality of health suffers across the society as a whole. When a certain level of services is insured and is utilized by the people it is being offered to, a certain positive equilibrium emerges wherein less illness is prevalent, and therefore requires less and less attention to alleviate. This is true in more areas than just health care; in general any system that works to solve a problem rather than just treat a symptom will be more cost effective in the long run. In a society where only those that can afford care get looked after, only superficial symptoms are cured and the root causes will remain in the less affluent population that can not receive care.

    Quote Originally Posted by DanLamb View Post
    I agree that the US health care system, pre ACA, has tons of problems, but that is definitely not a private model. Medicare and medicaid alone are major forces that are not remotely private institutions.
    It is not a fully private model, and is indeed the worst of both worlds in many ways. What it does show is that private initiative alone has failed to make it any more effective than more public systems, such as the one in my own country which still suffers from the flaws of a two-tiered system.

    Quote Originally Posted by DanLamb View Post
    You are saying Obama is far right on the left spectrum? I don't see that. The Blue Dog Democrats are the far right of the left, Obama is not at all. Clinton was much more right and moderate than Obama. Obama has made massive moves in health, education, and charity to absorb much more of society under federal government control.
    While Clinton may or may not be more to the right than Obama, it simply beggars believe to say that Obama is some far left radical intent on intense government controls. Obama puts a huge amount of faith in the free market; one just needs to look at his policy on promoting private space flights over government funded launch vehicles in order to see this. This alone makes him not a socialist, and his faith in such matters would be hard for even a social democrat to swallow. And beyond Obamacare, which really changes things very little, what exactly has he done to education or charity that hugely changes the dynamic of American domestic or economic policy?

    Quote Originally Posted by DanLamb View Post
    The big difference is that with the largest private companies on this planet like Walmart/Exxon/Volkswagen/Samsung: the source of their power is much more justified in that it provided benefit to people and the scope of their power is much more limited in what they can do with it. All of those companies couldn't band together and wield the kind of power that the US federal government does in health care and education.
    I have received uncountable benefits from the government, so it also provided benefit to people, making the distinction that you attempt to draw meaningless. You have also received plenty of benefits from your own government, and it would be a lie to deny this fact. So what we are left is an issue of scope. What you appreciate is the idea of having power spread across more hands, and feel that government does not provide this. But under a truly representative system power would be spread across the population, and with implementation of policy delegated on a more regional basis, as our provincial system allows for in Canada, the concentration of that power is stretched even further.

    Taking that into account, when I agree with you that I would like to see a greater centralization of government power, what I really mean is that the government should have greater jurisdiction to handle issues that are important to society, not that the power itself should be run out of one central office.

    Plus companies have banded together to effect legislative change - what do you think ALEC is?

    Quote Originally Posted by DanLamb View Post
    So sure, some forces will always have power over others, but there is a large difference in how they are justified and what checks and balances are in place to limit abuse of that power.
    That is basically what I said, only we came to different conclusions.
    Last edited by Hamish Wilson; 10-23-2013 at 08:28 PM.

  2. #162
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hamish Wilson View Post
    ...as long as a higher power exits in order to ensure the greater will of the public is upheld.
    The greater will of the public is not always fair or reasonable. Sometimes the public majority wants to outright murder a minority. I don't want the greater will of the public to be upheld in those situations. That is why there are supposed to be checks and balances on majority power in the US.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hamish Wilson View Post
    While Clinton may or may not be more to the right than Obama, it simply beggars believe to say that Obama is some far left radical intent on intense government controls. Obama puts a huge amount of faith in the free market; one just needs to look at his policy on promoting private space flights over government funded launch vehicles in order to see this. This alone makes him not a socialist, and his faith in such matters would be hard for even a social democrat to swallow.
    Right wing ideology wants to see limits on the size and scope of federal government power, more dispersion of that power, and more engagement of common people, including genuine power wielded by a meritocratic free market system, not just a move from federal government employees to federal government contractors. The actions of the Obama administration regarding space exploration are good, but they are hardly evidence of a right or moderate ideology. It's also ridiculous to suggest that social democrats are outraged by the space exploration changes. That is not an important issue in the mindset of the left of today.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hamish Wilson View Post
    And beyond Obamacare, which really changes things very little, what exactly has he done to education or charity that hugely changes the dynamic of American domestic or economic policy?
    With education, which has traditionally been the domain of state and local government, not a remote centralized federal government, the Obama administration is putting federal pressure on states to adopt core curriculum. The counter points are that the curriculum was developed outside the federal government, and states are not legally required to use it, just financially pressured to do so. Obama is also pushing for national pre-K education, which is again beyond the normal domain of power of federal government.

    The Obama administration has increased student loan forgiveness, which is both expanding the power of federal government, and a charity-like redistribution effort.

    The entire ACA health care issue has large scope of power issues and redistribution pieces. It expands the scope of Medicaid and federal involvement with that.

    The Obama administration has done a lot to provide federal aid to home owners who can't make their mortgage payments, which is again expanding federal power and charity-like redistribution.

    Left wing types say this is good, right wing types say it's bad, but I thought both sides generally agreed that the Obama administration is based on ideology and policy of redsistribution, fighting inequality, and expanding the scope and power of federal government.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hamish Wilson View Post
    Plus companies have banded together to effect legislative change - what do you think ALEC is?
    Of course. I am completely aware of special interest groups.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DanLamb View Post
    Right wing ideology wants to see limits on the size and scope of federal government power, more dispersion of that power, and more engagement of common people, including genuine power wielded by a meritocratic free market system, not just a move from federal government employees to federal government contractors.
    That's why government has shrunk in size, and significantly reduced spending - particularly military-industrial spending and contracting - whenever the right wing have been in power? Oh, wait...

    What they say and do are too different things. Everyone is happy to expand government, as long as it's the parts of government that they agree with, and to shrink it, as long as it's the parts they disagree with.
    Last edited by chrisb; 10-24-2013 at 03:45 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by chrisb View Post
    That's why government has shrunk in size, and significantly reduced spending - particularly military-industrial spending and contracting - whenever the right wing have been in power? Oh, wait...

    What they say and do are too different things. Everyone is happy to expand government, as long as it's the parts of government that they agree with, and to shrink it, as long as it's the parts they disagree with.
    Republicans generally champion right wing ideology and Democrats generally champion left wing ideology, but in many cases the reverse is true. In those scenarios, I prefer the Democrat.

    Military and defense spending is highly tied into foreign policy and inter-country conflict and goes beyond domestic left/right ideology. Your point is still definitely valid, and one I've heard before, but it involves a whole other set of issues.

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    So, Mark Shuttleworth did not only stir a technological controversy, he also stirred a political one. Now the thread has turned completely into a US politics debate!

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    Quote Originally Posted by DanLamb View Post
    The greater will of the public is not always fair or reasonable. Sometimes the public majority wants to outright murder a minority. I don't want the greater will of the public to be upheld in those situations. That is why there are supposed to be checks and balances on majority power in the US.
    And I do not have a problem with certain checks, such as rights bills or charters that ensure certain innate individual liberties even against the will of the majority. I also believe in proportional representation, where in a plurality of the vote can not rule over the majority of the electorate. In general I have a great liking for the Westminster system employed in my country primarily because it is a good way of making opposition voices heard while at the same time allowing the wheels of government to properly function, but the first past the post system that handles the election process is not properly representative, which does unfortunately result in pluralities forming majority governments such as we have now, which can then further entrench their own power thanks to the non-democratically elected senate.

    But I digress. Your proposed system would also face problems of majority will over the rights of the minority, because without a third-party body bound by law and an acknowledgement of basic human rights to resolve disputes you will not have an arbitrator and if need be enforcer to make sure that the rights of the minority and individual are upheld. By handing powers over to unregulated local authorities not bound by a global law you open up severe opportunities for favouritism, nepotism, racism, sexism, and all kinds of discrimination. Believers in Capitalism like to say that their world view is the only viable one because it is based on the more reliable darker sides of our natures; well, if that is the case, I would rather have an impartial law handle my case than some narrow-minded collection of people encouraged to exercise the worst aspects of themselves in society.

    Quote Originally Posted by DanLamb View Post
    Right wing ideology wants to see limits on the size and scope of federal government power, more dispersion of that power, and more engagement of common people, including genuine power wielded by a meritocratic free market system, not just a move from federal government employees to federal government contractors.
    By doing this "dispersion of power" wielded by a "meritocratic free market" you would simply close off power only to the wealthy few who are materially advantaged. The notion of a self-regulating market is an illusion promoted by people who believe in a spectral "invisible hand" that will come to solve inequalities. Problem is that it does not work, just as anarchism's belief that human good will alone will work to balance society failed to curb the cronyism that created organized power structures in the first place.

    In a material world we need materiel solutions to the problems of inequality, and no bleeding heart or disembodied limb is going to solve them for us on our own. This argument also places far too much emphasis on the political power of the state and ignores the tyranny that economic powers have over those who are subject to them; one dollar, one vote will always favour the person with the most dollars, while one person, one vote forces equality. It is difficult to maintain a true democracy, but it is definitely an endeavour worth pursuing, and only then can the common people actually be engaged. I will not claim we have such a system in place now, and the United States is certainly not a shining example of a working democracy, but that does not make the concept invalid.

    Quote Originally Posted by DanLamb View Post
    The actions of the Obama administration regarding space exploration are good, but they are hardly evidence of a right or moderate ideology. It's also ridiculous to suggest that social democrats are outraged by the space exploration changes. That is not an important issue in the mindset of the left of today.
    It is for the people involved, and you should be appalled at the government waste of the situation. Obama closed the Constellation program right on the cusp of real measurable results, throwing out years of work and investment simply due to free market ideology. Ever wonder why the U.S. is becoming so dependant on Russia to provide launch facilities all of a sudden?

    As for the policies you mentioned, almost all dealt with existing government institutions, and all of the changes are perfectly acceptable from the view of a social liberal. You will notice that Obama has refused to do such things as nationalize floundering private companies and firms under direct government control; even Obamacare simply puts regulations on the health insurance industry and offers certain assurances, and does not try and offer universal care directly as is attempted by the NHS in Britain or the provincial health services offered in my own country. Obama places a huge amount of faith in the free market, even in the banking industry which he gave so much money to in order to keep operating through private hands. If you think these paltry moves of regulation and limited social spending (and lets keep in mind that government spending in total has gone down successively under Obama) make him a far left radical, wait until you see what a real socialist would do.

    Quote Originally Posted by DanLamb View Post
    Of course. I am completely aware of special interest groups.
    Which are corporate leaders banding together to create legislative change. Saying you are aware of their existence does not negate their effect or how it casts doubt on your own assertions.

    Quote Originally Posted by sarmad View Post
    So, Mark Shuttleworth did not only stir a technological controversy, he also stirred a political one. Now the thread has turned completely into a US politics debate!
    Well, I am not arguing from a US perspective and I am trying to make this a broader argument. I do admit it is off topic, but given what we were discussing before I think this is an improvement. At least this has some finer theoretical points about it, and a little less fanboy chest thumping.
    Last edited by Hamish Wilson; 10-24-2013 at 10:43 PM.

  7. #167
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    Default Corporations DO band together for political power

    Quote Originally Posted by Hamish Wilson View Post
    Plus companies have banded together to effect legislative change - what do you think ALEC is?
    Wal-Mart and similar giant corporations do in fact work jointly to control the political process and throw around huge bribes. ALEC is one of the worst examples. The racist SB1070 in Arizona came from ALEC. So did the "stand your ground laws" widely suspected of getting Trayvon Martin murdered. Here in DC, Wal-Mart is pumping huge bribes to politicians not only to open unwanted stores, but also to support replacing public schools with charter schools. Charter schools, through their ability to cherry-pick and expel students, are resegregating the school system in places like DC and New Orleans. Needless to say, I've marched with anticapitalists of many stripes and with Occupy against all of this. Hell we even had people dressed as money run from K Street to Congress last April over all this

    Care to guess why I prefer FOSS software to commercial?
    Last edited by Luke; 10-25-2013 at 01:38 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hamish Wilson View Post
    By handing powers over to unregulated local authorities not bound by a global law you open up severe opportunities for favouritism, nepotism, racism, sexism, and all kinds of discrimination.
    How are smaller, local governments more suscept to racism/sexism/nepotism than larger, remote governments? I'm not advocating for removing checks and balances of power to allow unregulated governance.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hamish Wilson View Post
    By doing this "dispersion of power" wielded by a "meritocratic free market" you would simply close off power only to the wealthy few who are materially advantaged.
    "Closing off power to a few" is concentration of power. I've been advocating for the very opposite: dispersion of power.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hamish Wilson View Post
    The notion of a self-regulating market is an illusion promoted by people who believe in a spectral "invisible hand" that will come to solve inequalities
    I and most of the American right have been advocating accepting and adapting to larger levels of material inequality. We never claimed that a free market will solve inequalities.

    To requote myself from one post ago: "Society should accept and adapt to material inequality that occurs as a completely natural part of a society based on personal and community choice and responsibility."

    You are also mischaracterizing Adam Smith's "invisible hand" (which Mark Shuttleworth was a fan of). You are mocking it as a "spectral" thing, but it's a very reasonable claim.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hamish Wilson View Post
    Saying you are aware of their existence does not negate their effect or how it casts doubt on your own assertions.
    I wish I could fix the problems of the world with a comment post, but I don't think that is feasible. I was just trying to agree with and acknolwedge your point that private companies aren't saints and special interest groups are an actual problem.

  9. #169
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    Quote Originally Posted by DanLamb View Post
    How are smaller, local governments more suscept to racism/sexism/nepotism than larger, remote governments?
    Because it is harder to enforce a global understanding of human rights and the need for diversity in smaller more clannish environments.

    Quote Originally Posted by DanLamb View Post
    I'm not advocating for removing checks and balances of power to allow unregulated governance.
    Then provide a mechanism for it. How are you going to ensure that powers are kept in check and people's rights are protected without a means of enforcing and protecting said assurances without a certain concentration of powers?

    Quote Originally Posted by DanLamb View Post
    "Closing off power to a few" is concentration of power. I've been advocating for the very opposite: dispersion of power.
    Yes, but have failed to show a viable mechanism to achieve it. Handing it away from the electorate (at least in principle) into the hands of the materially advantaged is not going to make it anymore accessible.

    Quote Originally Posted by DanLamb View Post
    "I and most of the American right have been advocating accepting and adapting to larger levels of material inequality. We never claimed that a free market will solve inequalities ... To requote myself from one post ago: "Society should accept and adapt to material inequality that occurs as a completely natural part of a society based on personal and community choice and responsibility."
    Which is completely unethical unless you believe that every single disadvantaged person did something to justify the treatment they have received.

    Quote Originally Posted by DanLamb View Post
    You are also mischaracterizing Adam Smith's "invisible hand" (which Mark Shuttleworth was a fan of). You are mocking it as a "spectral" thing, but it's a very reasonable claim.
    It is a claim that fails on the basis that it makes too broad an assumption on vague notions of human nature and human ability just as anarchism does; it fails to grasp that not everyone clearly perceives or is able to act upon their own self interest, making it no longer enlightened. It also fails to take into account that in a non-closed system actions outside of that system can still have an effect, making the interactions inside that system no longer independent of outside forces, something which the free market requires. It also, like most classical economical theory, is predicated on a notion of constant growth, something that flies in the face of ecology and the laws of thermodynamics.

    I also do understand that the Invisible Hand I invoked is not the quite the same as the one Smith himself postulated, but it is the commonly accepted notion of his work I am debating here, and not necessarily Smith's own conclusions. In fact, I think Smith might even agree with me that his limited metaphor has grown to become some sort of spectral deity far beyond the context which his original wordplay was attempting to establish.

    And finally, I really do not care what Shuttleworth's thoughts are on this, as I am hardly waving his flag here.

    Quote Originally Posted by DanLamb View Post
    I wish I could fix the problems of the world with a comment post, but I don't think that is feasible. I was just trying to agree with and acknolwedge your point that private companies aren't saints and special interest groups are an actual problem.
    I am not fixing any problems either by posting, but I am participating in a debate. So I hope you will forgive me for challenging some of your claims.
    Last edited by Hamish Wilson; 10-25-2013 at 11:45 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DanLamb View Post
    How are smaller, local governments more suscept to racism/sexism/nepotism than larger, remote governments?
    The argument is that in a society where the government is representative of the people, more people means a broader range of opinions and values and ethnicities and regionalities. It might a bit of an over generalisation, but it's also fair to say that it has been true in many cases that a government formed from multiple tribal and ethnic groups ends up being less racist than the single ethnic group government.

    Quote Originally Posted by DanLamb View Post
    I and most of the American right have been advocating accepting and adapting to larger levels of material inequality. We never claimed that a free market will solve inequalities.

    To requote myself from one post ago: "Society should accept and adapt to material inequality that occurs as a completely natural part of a society based on personal and community choice and responsibility."
    Society does adapt to extreme inequality, but not in the way that you hope. Historically, extreme inequality has led directly to revolution, both violent and non violent. It turns out that the majority of people will not accept income inequality if they are poor. And if the majority of people reject something, then it can't be sustained without removing their power, ie denying them the right to vote and shifting to a non representative government. That's one of the reasons why income inequality is historically correlated with civil conflict. That does not mean it will always be that way, and perhaps some society will discover a way to have both stability and a stratification of income classes through extreme control over the lower classes (ie. something like current Dubai, although even there the economic slave class has been showing signs of dissent, and there have been riots involving thousands of people, so I doubt it is really sustainable in the long term).

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