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Coming out and the people that come with it





busman
So this is going to be a kind of long post but I've been wanting to get this off my chest somewhere and Frihost has been good to me so I thought I might as well post it here.

So my coming out has been a very long process coming to fruition recently. The whole aspect of when people ask "Is that guy gay?", I can proudly say "Yes I am.". This is easily the hardest thing I've ever had to do being honest with myself, so I can be honest with those whom I love which is hard, because I've been so VERY closed off to the world and numb to the things that have been affecting me my whole life that I've had to train my brain to remember how to give a shit and be proud of that and who I am.

Straight people who are cool with the gay thing say "Just be you. That's great!" etc. etc. but unless you were born in a very secular country or a very tolerant city etc., you have no idea how hard the thing you are asking this person to do is in everday life when everytime they go out they get a wierd look, or some person muttering a just barely audible "faggot", or everytime they read the news paper there is some new law or legal movement bent by religous fanatics to take away the progress we as human beings have made.

So this is my message to all you people who don't want gay marriage and/or gay people out (whether that be millitarily etc.) or want them to be able to be discriminated against in legal business such as housing, jobs etc. is... Get the hell over it. You have made my life harder everyday since I was young enough to associate the word gay with wrong. Love the sinner, but hate the sin? What BS! You are litteraly hating the very part of me that I have learned after 12 years isn't a horrible thing that needs to be drowned out with the numbness of drugs and apathy. I cannot understand the way you folks think... Seriously can you explain it to me logically? I am not some political issue that can be looked at in a macro view and labeled as having some sick agenda. I am not some damn sort of perversion on the face of the earth because some 2,000 year old book that advocates how to beat your women and slaves tells me that I am.

I am a human being who wants someone I can grow old with, a person who wants to be able to live my life without hating every minute of what I am because it was POUNDED into my brain I was supposed to (rural religious towns, and moving is out of the question at the moment), a person who has feelings, desires, and deserves respect for the simple fact that I am another human living as peacefully as I can with the others on this planet earth. I am actually part of two groups that have some of the lowest crime rates in the world (unless you count sodomy [sorry]) gays and atheists. I am far less likely to ever to be violent towards someone else because of my beliefs yet am far more prone to violence, slander and discrimination from others for who I am and what I believe. What is wrong with these people? What makes it right for you to try and dictate what I should do and believe and if I don't comply,make me out to be some pervert who's right to marry is equal to beastiality (Rick Santorum)?

You call us the sickos, wackos and perverts but y'all should take a damn look in the mirror because what seems perverted to me is the inhumanity in your actions, the hypocrisy in your leaders (George Alan Rekers, The Catholic priesthood, Richard Curtis etc. etc.), the facisim in the policies you promote and the fact that the bullying and discrimination gays deal with causes them to have a FAR higher suicide rate then hetero people. If inhumanity isn't an abomination to your god but I am (a law-abiding, tax-paying, non-violent citizen/ex-marine),then you all have some issues in your head to deal with;just like I did, I'm just thinking yours may run a little deeper and that's saying something.

And to you women out there that act like this "OMG WE CAN TOTALLY BE SHOPPING FRIENDS!!!<3" (don't get me wrong I LOVE to shop), STOP IT. I am not some damn novelty play thing, I don't want to be your new gay bff (I already have mine ty very much), and I am not awesome because I am gay. I am awesome because of who I am Smile , not because of what I may happen to be. I get hit on by women all the time and then I tell them "Dude um... I don't do vagina" (lol) they are always like "OMG <3" or some equally stupid reaction. This isn't support women, this is making me a novelty toy and far less of a person than hate could ever do. You are basically marginalizing all gay men into what you want them to be and y'all need to stop, because your hurting the concept that we deserve respect and fair treatment far more than your helping and it's also pretty insulting that that's all you think of me/us.

I needed to get that off my chest thanks frihost Very Happy (And ty to all of you who have been supportive here!)
Afaceinthematrix
busman wrote:
Seriously can you explain it to me logically?


No. They cannot explain it to you logically because it is illogical. Just look at some of the bullshit arguments that we have to listen to.



That video is very popular on Youtube and is mirrored quite a bit. It's one of the first things that come up when you search for "homophobic pastor." So this pastor thinks that putting homosexuals in prison will stop homosexuality because if homosexuals are locked up then they cannot reproduce? What this dumbass fails to understand is that homosexuals cannot reproduce (naturally) when they aren't in prison either (unless they make an exception and sleep with someone of the opposite sex)! Furthermore, homosexuality is NOT hereditary!

Just look at the URL for the website of the Westboro Baptist Church. The URL is (and it makes me sick to even post it here but I will anyways... it uses a word that is so hateful and that I would never use myself):

http://www.godhatesfags.com/

These people aren't using logic; they're using hate. It's impossible to explain something to you logically when it isn't based on logic - it's based on hate. Here's another video (one of my favorite Youtube people (Thunderf00t) vs. The Westboro Baptist Church):



The fact of the matter is that you can barely watch this video because it's garbage. I am highly impressed that Thunderf00t made it through 19 minutes of this hate fueled bigotry without cussing these people out.

Christians have no logical arguments against homosexuality because the only place that I know of where the Bible condemns it is in the book of Leviticus. However, the book of Leviticus also bans men from shaving, people from wearing two different fabrics on their clothes, planting more than one plant in the same field, etc. So why do they choose to follow one rule but then not follow the rest? There's no logical reason why any Christian who shaves or wears almost any modern clothing should have any right to condemn homosexuality. However, they do and it is only fueled by hate. What is interesting is that at the end of the second video, you can see Thunderf00t make a funny claim about how Jesus was a homosexual (or at least had homosexual tendencies).

I am sorry for the bullshit that you constantly have to go through. It isn't too different for an atheist that is part of a family full of protestant pastors. I am related to three pastors and am the ONLY person in my family to ever attend (let alone graduate from) a secular university. My sister attends a Christian "university" and is majoring in biology - at a school that doesn't accept or teach evolution and that makes her take 3 bible courses and only one pseudo-biology course a term and my other sister graduated from a Christian "university" with a "degree" in Christian Family Counseling which has enabled her to work a Petsmart - a retail store that would hire a high school dropout and pay them the same as her.

My family is very judgmental and I will not talk to or see either of my sisters ever again because I cannot talk to either of them for more than 10 seconds without learning about another 30 reasons why I'm going to Hell. The funny part is that when I used to have to occasionally see my Petsmart successful sister I'd hear her talking nonstop about how "this person is going to Hell for that reason; I had to change churches because the people at that church aren't Christian enough; I won't talk to that person anymore because I found out they got drunk; etc" and then she was never able to figure out why she didn't have any friends. I tried explaining it to her more than once but she doesn't understand. The only good thing about my situation is that I was practically born with my middle fingers in the air and if I typed some of my first words on here, Frihost would replace them with asterisks. I always said that if I had to lose a finger it would have to my ring finger because the thumb is too important to lose (you can't do anything without your thumb), my middle finger is necessary for driving, and I need my pinky and pointer to make the "Corna" (or devil horns or whatever you want to call the hand gesture made at heavy metal shows).
busman
Lol at the last line of your posts. I am so sorry for your family being that way... I can understand that too, adopted into an abusive household. Your first video I couldn't watch more than 1 minute of without having to look down and then shut if off. I can't watch the second... Sorry. I am also an atheist in a pretty religously influenced town so I totally get it too lol. It's like a blackhole of judgement that your not gonna get away from Confused. I can't understand the way these people think. I could murder child molesters, repeat rapists and beat down women, child and elderly beaters but I don't know about hating someone different just because they're different. Where is the godly morality there ya know? These people are sick if you ask me.
tingkagol
busman wrote:
I can't understand the way these people think. I could murder child molesters, repeat rapists and beat down women, child and elderly beaters but I don't know about hating someone different just because they're different.

Ignorance. I think most of it stem from the belief that homosexuality is a choice, not something you're born with. Every time someone disparages gays they're basically saying: "Why do you choose to be the way you are? Why can't you be just like me, a 'normal' person? Why do you consciously choose to be abnormal?"
busman
tingkagol wrote:
Ignorance. I think most of it stem from the belief that homosexuality is a choice, not something you're born with. Every time someone disparages gays they're basically saying: "Why do you choose to be the way you are? Why can't you be just like me, a 'normal' person? Why do you consciously choose to be abnormal?"


Ya I understand that, but its like, why would I choose to be hated and discriminated against? That is such a ridiculous position to take that it's insane in its absurdity. All gay people "want" to be discriminated against by their logic. d'oh!
tingkagol
God, I just watched that last video. It almost gave me a headache.

It makes me wonder though... is the westboro baptist church THE one denomination that got Christianity right? Whereas other denominations are selective with passages in the Bible, they actually acknowledge everything in it? Including all the passages that incite murder and hate? "God hates fags"? Are they the "apex", the elite of fundamentalist christianity?
Ankhanu
tingkagol wrote:
God, I just watched that last video. It almost gave me a headache.

It makes me wonder though... is the westboro baptist church THE one denomination that got Christianity right? Whereas other denominations are selective with passages in the Bible, they actually acknowledge everything in it? Including all the passages that incite murder and hate? "God hates fags"? Are they the "apex", the elite of fundamentalist christianity?

No, there are others... but the WBC is the most visible. I find it very interesting that so many "Christians" are so shocked by WBC and the like, and condemn them as un-Christian... they're the ones that actually seem to have things right (according to scriptures, at least).
Afaceinthematrix
Quote:
I am so sorry for your family being that way...


Eh whatever. I get along with my parents and a couple of my uncles/aunts and so I do have some family that I can tolerate. It's mostly my sisters and extended relatives (great aunts, great uncles, grandparents, etc.) that I don't get along with. But it really doesn't matter because I live in Southern California and most of those people live in Northern California - about an eight hour drive and so I never see them anymore. In fact, if I ran into them on the street I probably wouldn't even recognize them. P.S., I said that I was related to three Protestant pastors. I just realized that I made a mistake - it is actually four.

tingkagol wrote:
God, I just watched that last video. It almost gave me a headache.

It makes me wonder though... is the westboro baptist church THE one denomination that got Christianity right? Whereas other denominations are selective with passages in the Bible, they actually acknowledge everything in it? Including all the passages that incite murder and hate? "God hates fags"? Are they the "apex", the elite of fundamentalist christianity?


Of course. Someone posted in another thread that most Christians are really following a version of "Christian Light." Back in high school, my world history teacher told us once that Christianity really just follows the easy parts of Judaism plus an additional few books on being nice (the Gospels of Jesus - which actually have some decent stuff in them but is certainly not original as far as morality goes).
busman
I couldn't be so cool headed in their company. I would probably flip the **** out lol and I don't do that very often. People like this have some SERIOUS pyschological issues. Christianity is probably less tolerant than Islam as a whole if you read ALL the scripture on both sides. Neither are very tolerant but I would have to say imho it seems like if there was a contest between fundamentalists that the christian ones might seem even to top the Islamic on the discrimination factor.
Hello_World
I'm glad you have reached that point you are comfortable with being open. I have a friend who was expressing just how liberating it was when he was finally able to come to terms with himself and be open (he was brought up Mormon and was in a very bad place within himself for a long time).

I just wanted to comment on your paragraph about women... fag hags as they are known here lol. And firstly I want to just say I HATE shopping that would never be me ha! But I understand how annoying that might be for you but just realise that yes they ARE trying to be supportive, some women are quite like that and also quite superficial and women who love shopping say that to each other... like if they find out they like a certain designer or shopping strip or something in common...

While I think its great you want to express that gay people are not all alike/not some novelty/not that superficial... I think it is a teensy bit mean of you to be so scathing of people who are trying to be supportive... everyone meets superficial people in their lives... I get annoyed by women that want me to go shopping too, but I appreciate the sentiment.

PS I love love love your quote.
Bikerman
I am greatly heartened by the fact that I actually missed this posting the first time around. I scanned it rather too quickly and didn't see anything that stuck-out for comment and quickly moved on. I didn't actually realise you were talking about 'coming out' and the reason I find it heartening is that it never even registered as significant on my conscious or unconsciousness. Bearing in mind I'm a 50 yr old bloke, brought up in the UK when being 'gay' was still very very much a stigma.....wow, how far we have come.

Now, of course, I understand that things will not quite be the same in the US (depending on where you are), and could be VERY much worse.

The best and most positive message I can send is this:

Here in the UK there are some people for whom this would be an issue (almost all of them on 'religious' grounds), but they are a very small group - and even then they are very much constrained by social and peer pressure into being VERY careful about expressing any homophobia. For most of us, however, even us older blokes, it really and honestly barely even registers and is certainly no sort of issue.
That day will come to the US - it is inevitable and unstoppable. The way to speed it up, I suspect, is to make sure that the religious bigots are exposed to the fullest possible gaze of the public, in all their horror.
ocalhoun
Bikerman wrote:
The way to speed it up, I suspect, is to make sure that the religious bigots are exposed to the fullest possible gaze of the public, in all their horror.


You may be giving religion a bit too much credit there... I've met no shortage of very un-religious, yet quite homophobic people in the military.

Not sure if it's just fear of the unknown, suppressed internal desires, fear of losing masculinity, or maybe something deep-seated and biological, but I think there's definitely more to the anti-gay thinking than just 'because God says so'.

Sure, the very worst anti-gay zealots are almost always religiously motivated, or at least rely heavily on religious rhetoric to support their views, but for the average homophobic person, I think the motivations come mostly from something else.

(And it's likely enough that most of the religious antipathy only came to exist because of this same reason, people using religion to justify something they already felt.)
Bikerman
Hmm..perhaps...but here in the UK it is pretty unarguable that religion is the focus for homophobia. Sure, some Rugby clubs/working-mens drinking clubs and the like are still pretty homophobic - but only in proportion to the amount of older guys who tend to drink there in my experience. In the under 30s it is, if not dead, certainly receiving the last rites - apart from amongst the evangelicals.
Now, it may be true that religion simply attracts those who would, in any case, be homophobic. But that argument is used for a lot of evils, and my counter-argument would be that removing ANY focus for such views can only ever be positive, since it decreases the total number of focal points.
Afaceinthematrix
You have to understand, though, that until last September the military had legislation backing it up to homophobic. It wasn't until last September when DADT was repealed. Working and living for (because the military isn't just a job - it's a way of life) a homophobic system is likely to attract and/or produce more homophobes than most other organizations. I know plenty of people in the military and marines (no offense, busman) seem to be the worse when it comes to the fact that the military literally reprograms people. I have known maybe one person who joined the army, went to bootcamp, and came out the same person (albeit in much better shape). All of the marines that I know go to bootcamp and then come back 13 weeks later completely different people. I have heard plenty of marine bootcamp stories (which all sound miserable for even people like me that are in great shape) and I am still not quite sure what the hell goes on there because my friends that have joined completely changed in a very short amount of time. That might contribute to a higher level of homophobes in the U.S. military. They are reprogrammed by an organization that, until very recently, had legislation making it homophobic.
busman
Hello_World wrote:
While I think its great you want to express that gay people are not all alike/not some novelty/not that superficial... I think it is a teensy bit mean of you to be so scathing of people who are trying to be supportive... everyone meets superficial people in their lives... I get annoyed by women that want me to go shopping too, but I appreciate the sentiment.

PS I love love love your quote.


I just find that they'll hit on you then be like "OMG <3 GAYZ!!!" and your just like umphhh.... Here we go again lol, it also seems a teency bit patronizing. Anywho, what quote would that be?


Bikerman wrote:
Here in the UK there are some people for whom this would be an issue (almost all of them on 'religious' grounds), but they are a very small group - and even then they are very much constrained by social and peer pressure into being VERY careful about expressing any homophobia. For most of us, however, even us older blokes, it really and honestly barely even registers and is certainly no sort of issue.


It's more of a social thing like if I stand a little differently I see people just mugging hella bad (dirty looks) or if you talk they'll ask stupid questions like "He's got a little bit of sugar in his tank huh?, and its just like F* can't I just do me? Like I hate baseball but you don't hear me expressing disgust in everything MLB ya know? Dirty looks is probably the worst one, because most people won't come out and say it (6' 175lbs and fit) but they will look at you like damn queer folks... I guess it's also the town I'm in.

It has been very liberating, but at the same time very hard to realise your never gonna have "The American Dream", at least societally and in your family. My mom is ok but I would love to tell my whole family and Idk if thats gonna happen... My grandma esspecially would be nice, I love her to death but she's old old (80) and Idk if it would be right to do that... So many questions to ask and not knowing what to do and maybe 1/15 people to ask for advice and ya never know who has gone through the same ya know?
Bikerman
Get a transfer to Europe - UK/France/Germany/Scandinavian countries - no real issues.
I find it sad, rather than anything else, that you don't think the US will 'come along' with much of the rest of the civilised world on this anytime soon, but if you had asked me 20 yrs ago I might have said the same for the UK.
Today was the Pride march in Liverpool and next week it is Manchester Pride - both all over the local news with no silly innuendo, in fact no negative coverage at all. The Patron for the event was the MP for Liverpool - Angela Eagle The Liverpool & Everton football teams were represented - a few players and a lot of the staff and women's team members were there on the LFC bus - and there were some VERY camp boys on their bus, with the full 3ft high hairdo, glam make-up etc etc. It looked like they had a ball to me (no pun intended Smile Man United will be appearing at the Manchester Pride march.
Couldn't get to Liverpool but will probably get to the Manchester rally.

We aren't perfect yet - Liverpool started the Pride march in response to a couple of homophobic attacks in the city a few yrs back - but we are surely getting there.
busman
Bikerman wrote:
Get a transfer to Europe - UK/France/Germany/Scandinavian countries - no real issues.
I find it sad, rather than anything else, that you don't think the US will 'come along' with much of the rest of the civilised world on this anytime soon, but if you had asked me 20 yrs ago I might have said the same for the UK.
Today was the Pride march in Liverpool and next week it is Manchester Pride - both all over the local news with no silly innuendo, in fact no negative coverage at all. The Patron for the event was the MP for Liverpool - Angela Eagle The Liverpool & Everton football teams were represented - a few players and a lot of the staff and women's team members were there on the LFC bus - and there were some VERY camp boys on their bus, with the full 3ft high hairdo, glam make-up etc etc. It looked like they had a ball to me (no pun intended Smile Man United will be appearing at the Manchester Pride march.
Couldn't get to Liverpool but will probably get to the Manchester rally.

We aren't perfect yet - Liverpool started the Pride march in response to a couple of homophobic attacks in the city a few yrs back - but we are surely getting there.


The US is still a pretty religious country where Rick Santorum can compare my right to marry to beastiality and garner a respectable portion of the electorate. Idk I would love to go to Europe, get me a ticket hahahaha. And anyway when the hell ever does the US come along with the rest of the west, we still have trickle down "economics", sodomy laws, republicans (lol), and people that routinely beat people for wearing a turban etc.. This country is not HORRIBLE but its damn disgusting quite often.
Afaceinthematrix
Part of the problem with the States is that most Americans have this silly idea that federalism is a bad idea and that state's rights are a good idea. Furthermore, many Americans also have this silly idea that everything needs to be voted on. Both of these are flawed.

1) I am against both state's rights and federal rights. I am for personal rights.

2) Human rights should NEVER be left to a vote. When will people realize that gay marriage is something that should never be voted on because human rights should NEVER be left to a vote? Theoretically, if we voted to reinstate slavery and 51% of people agreed then slavery would STILL be wrong. Even if most people are against gay marriage, it is IRRELEVANT because decisions should never be made on the desires of bigots but on what is right. I wish the Supreme Court would just rule at the federal level that not letting homosexuals get married is obviously bigotry and a restriction of their rights and so is, therefore, unconstitutional.

The issue is that we have both of these issues going on right now. Slowly, more and more states (again, states - not federal level) are putting the "issue" of gay marriage on the ballot (which, I suppose, is better than not having it on the ballot but it still isn't something that should be voted on).
busman
Afaceinthematrix wrote:
1) I am against both state's rights and federal rights. I am for personal rights.

2) Human rights should NEVER be left to a vote. When will people realize that gay marriage is something that should never be voted on because human rights should NEVER be left to a vote? Theoretically, if we voted to reinstate slavery and 51% of people agreed then slavery would STILL be wrong. Even if most people are against gay marriage, it is IRRELEVANT because decisions should never be made on the desires of bigots but on what is right. I wish the Supreme Court would just rule at the federal level that not letting homosexuals get married is obviously bigotry and a restriction of their rights and so is, therefore, unconstitutional.

The issue is that we have both of these issues going on right now. Slowly, more and more states (again, states - not federal level) are putting the "issue" of gay marriage on the ballot (which, I suppose, is better than not having it on the ballot but it still isn't something that should be voted on).


Couldn't have put this point better myself.
Indi
Afaceinthematrix wrote:
I wish the Supreme Court would just rule at the federal level that not letting homosexuals get married is obviously bigotry and a restriction of their rights and so is, therefore, unconstitutional.


i'm not American, so i can't speak as an expert on this, but i believe that the legislators are being EXTREMELY careful to avoid a Supreme Court case related to things like the Defence of Marriage Act (DoMA) and so on. i think the general consensus among the politicians and pundits is that if a law like DoMA actually came before the Supreme Court, there's a better than even chance that it will be struck down... and once struck down, that's all she wrote. The legal precedent will be set, and there will be next to no chance for a DoMA 2.

Mind you, the way they're wording it is that they don't want "activist judges" to overturn the laws "chosen by the people". In other words: exactly the crap you talked about. The politicians want this law to be a popular vote, knowing that the popular vote will probably support homophobic laws, and they know that if it ends up in the court, it will probably be ruled unconstitutional. So, they're playing a careful game, riling up the populace, but being very careful not to end up with a case before SCotUS.
Afaceinthematrix
Indi wrote:

Mind you, the way they're wording it is that they don't want "activist judges" to overturn the laws "chosen by the people". In other words: exactly the crap you talked about. The politicians want this law to be a popular vote, knowing that the popular vote will probably support homophobic laws, and they know that if it ends up in the court, it will probably be ruled unconstitutional. So, they're playing a careful game, riling up the populace, but being very careful not to end up with a case before SCotUS.


Exactly! I know the problem and it really shouldn't exist. The thing that really irritates me is that, because of my views on personal freedoms, I am often called a "libertarian." I am not like any of the typical libertarians because it seems like every time you ask a libertarian any question, their response is a cop out. Their solution to everything is "state's rights." What do you think about abortion? It should be handled state by state. What do you think about gay marriage? It should be handled state by state. What do you think about marijuana laws? It should be handled state by state. NO! NO! NO! AND NO! I do not believe in federal rights or state rights - I believe in personal rights.

However, state rights are preferable over federal rights because, like you said, if something gets ruled at the federal level it's a one shot decision and you better hope that the correct decision was made. At least with state rights I can choose to move states because it is more likely that at least one state will make the correct decision. It's a crappy system but it's better than trusting those idiots at the federal level that only care about greed and their personal views. I have to fear that they'll make the correct decision and V said, "People shouldn't fear the government; the government should fear the people."

P.S. It's good to see you back, Indi. It had been at least 6 or 7 weeks since we had seen your postings.
Indi
Afaceinthematrix wrote:
Exactly! I know the problem and it really shouldn't exist. The thing that really irritates me is that, because of my views on personal freedoms, I am often called a "libertarian." I am not like any of the typical libertarians because it seems like every time you ask a libertarian any question, their response is a cop out.

If i were you, i'd avoid the "libertarian" label; you're really just going to end up in the company of loonies if you start wearing it. The problem with libertarianism is that while it starts from a perfectly reasonable and rational set of axioms, it stops short before any real thought is put into where it leads. Libertarians will start with the claim, "i should be able to do whatever i want; no government should be able to force me to do anything i don't want to do", and most of them stop there.

Some of the smarter ones have figured out that things start to break down when you get a community of people together who all want to do whatever they please, and try to amend the original claim with, "... so long as it doesn't interfere with anyone else's freedoms". But then, again, they stop there, with nary a thought as to how you might actually deal with people who want to interfere with other people's freedoms. Because the next step is, "okay, the people in the community should decide on what kinds of interference are intolerable, and create a police force to prevent those things from happening, and deal with them when they do". My, just look at the turn this has taken.

So yeah, i'd avoid the "libertarian" label. Most people who call themselves libertarians today have this childish, self-centred, utopian concept of how the world works, and are capable of little more than spouting a few choice catchphrases while ignoring the fact that managing a "community" of several million (or billion!) diverse people requires more than a hope and a prayer.

Afaceinthematrix wrote:
Their solution to everything is "state's rights." What do you think about abortion? It should be handled state by state. What do you think about gay marriage? It should be handled state by state. What do you think about marijuana laws? It should be handled state by state. NO! NO! NO! AND NO!

Yup, they'll always fall back on the smallest community they reasonably can - for now it's by favouring states over the federation - for the simple reason that you can't manage a massive, diverse community on libertarian principles. It's really all about circling the waggons around small, mostly homogenous communities to avoid the larger problems of getting diverse peoples to live together - hey, just like the fascists did! - with the ultimate vision that instead of one cohesive, diverse, unified group, you'd have a smattering of smaller communities, each with its own rules and standards according to the quirks and vagaries of the people in that community.

But again, follow the logic. If you have a bunch of discrete, isolated communities each pursuing their own self-interests, what's going to happen when they start disagreeing over resources? Welcome back to the days of feudalism! There's a reason we've gone to larger and larger collectives... from small fiefdoms, to states, to federations of states, and most recently to trans-national super-federations like the EU (and, to a lesser extent, NAFTA, CARICOM and so on). It's more peaceful, we accomplish more, and everyone's so much more prosperous when we collaborate into huge collectives.

Afaceinthematrix wrote:
I do not believe in federal rights or state rights - I believe in personal rights.

Well, be careful lest you drink the libertarian Kool-Aid, too. Yes, there is no such thing as state's rights or federal rights - only personal rights. But! Don't stop there! That's the fallacy in the libertarian logic - they only go that far and stop. If you keep going, and you start considering the personal rights of every person in a huge community in aggregate, things get more complicated, and sometimes personal rights have to be taken away from each individual person for the sake of all the other persons in the community.

For example, restricting travel; if it is known that there is an outbreak of a contagious disease in an area, for the sake of the community, no one should be allowed to enter or leave that area. You may think you have a personal freedom to go where you please without the government telling you where you can and can't go, but ****** your personal freedoms, frankly. When millions of people are held in balance against your personal desires... you lose. That's what governments and laws are about (when they work).

Afaceinthematrix wrote:
However, state rights are preferable over federal rights because, like you said, if something gets ruled at the federal level it's a one shot decision and you better hope that the correct decision was made. At least with state rights I can choose to move states because it is more likely that at least one state will make the correct decision. It's a crappy system but it's better than trusting those idiots at the federal level that only care about greed and their personal views.

i would go the opposite way, because the problem with allowing lower level governments to make important decisions is that with each step down you get more and more provincial, no pun intended. In fact, if you want to see some the craziest decisions made in all of politics, you have to go down to the lowest levels - municipal politics. Big collectives are smarter, and more egalitarian, than smaller ones. For analogous reasons, big cities are always more tolerant than small towns. After all, the state-level politicians are just as greedy and ideological as the federal ones. In fact, they're often the same people.

If you don't believe me, i can graphically illustrate the effect. Consider banning gay marriage; as i've mentioned, the strategy is to avoid the courts, because they'll almost certainly strike any anti-gay-marriage lays down. So the hail Mary play is to get a constitutional amendment. Once it's in the constitution, the courts are powerless. So let's compare the difference between federal and state attempts to create constitutional amendments against gay marriage. The federal attempt has been woefully pathetic. Between 2002 and 2006 there were multiple attempts to get a federal marriage amendment going. Most were stillborn, but a few actually managed to make it to the voting stage... as in the, stage where members voted on whether or not they would bother even discussing it. No one was even interested in it most of the times it was presented, it was filibustered other times. Eventually supporters tried to force votes. Every single vote failed. Attempts finally ended in 2008 (wanna guess why?). And, as you know, there is no federal marriage amendment.

Now look what happens when you let the states at the question: here.

Take that map in - 31 states have made constitutional amendments to ban gay marriage (and, note the timeline - this all happened between 1998 and now... all that done in a decade (except for NC, four years later)).

That's what happens when you let smaller groups take power - they use it, stupidly. In bigger groups, there's more diversity, more people have a louder voice, and it's harder to ignore them; the net result is that it's a lot harder to discriminate. Not impossible, but a hell of a lot harder.

i know that it's attractive to think that the federal government, distant behemoth that it is, is more out of touch with the people, and because it's so big and lumbering it can't get much done. That's wrong-headed, though. The federal government is as much a government of the people as the state governments are - but the fact that it's the government of so many people means it's going to be a much more open-minded and diversely-influenced government than the smaller and more limited state governments. It means that when it does make a decision, it does so much more carefully, considering so many more interests than the states' governments. This is not perfect, of course - it does mean that innovation and revolutionary changes can happen much faster at the state levels than at the federal... but that's true for both good and bad changes. Put another way, the states can do things much more quickly... but are often ****** stupid. The federal government is slower, lumbering along, but makes much more careful decisions as a consequence.

The evidence speaks for itself. In 20 years or less, those states are going to be falling over themselves to un-write those anti-gay-marriage amendments, red-faced with shame at their bigotry. The federal government will remain stoically on course.

Afaceinthematrix wrote:
I have to fear that they'll make the correct decision and V said, "People shouldn't fear the government; the government should fear the people."

Alan Moore's paranoid anarchism aside, ^_^; you have to remember that "the government" is not a person. It's fashionable to pretend it is, and to pretend that it's malevolent, but that's a perspective based on taking metaphor literally, with a heaping pile of paranoia; it's not based on reality.

It's important to remember that in a democratic republic - like the one you're in - YOU are the government. Talking about governments being afraid of the people is kinda schizophrenic, really. (Although, it is rather true that any sane person with power - like you, as a citizen of a democratic republic - should fear themselves, and what they could do, should they not be wise and cautious with their power. So, in that sense, that quote does ring true.)

i think it would be more correct to say politicians should be afraid of the people. Unfortunately, that's not what's happening. Even the worst president in US history is lauded as a hero. Politicians pander to special interest groups and ideology, not the people. That is the problem. If you really want change, you have to change the people in charge. Unfortunately, it seems the people of the US have fallen asleep at the wheel. At the very least, they are blissfully ignorant of how to run their own country. Did you even know that you could check your congressperson's voting history online? Every time an incumbent is up for re-election, they should have their record trotted out before them at the convention by the people - not by their opponents. Every single bad vote should be explained, right there, on the spot, and if they refuse to answer to anything or dodge the questions... they go home. That power is in the hands of the people, not the "government", and not politicians... but the people don't know they have it, or at least, don't use it. And that's the problem, not the government, the people. If your government sucks, it's not the fault of some imaginary anthropomorphization of "the government"... it's you, and the rest of the people.

Afaceinthematrix wrote:
P.S. It's good to see you back, Indi. It had been at least 6 or 7 weeks since we had seen your postings.

Aw, thanks; been kept away from the Internet for legal reasons. Not even kidding. ^_^; Technically, i probably shouldn't even be getting involved again now, but... ****** it. i started getting warnings from Frihost, so... here i am again.
Afaceinthematrix
Indi wrote:
If i were you, i'd avoid the "libertarian" label; you're really just going to end up in the company of loonies if you start wearing it. The problem with libertarianism is that while it starts from a perfectly reasonable and rational set of axioms, it stops short before any real thought is put into where it leads. Libertarians will start with the claim, "i should be able to do whatever i want; no government should be able to force me to do anything i don't want to do", and most of them stop there.

Some of the smarter ones have figured out that things start to break down when you get a community of people together who all want to do whatever they please, and try to amend the original claim with, "... so long as it doesn't interfere with anyone else's freedoms". But then, again, they stop there, with nary a thought as to how you might actually deal with people who want to interfere with other people's freedoms. Because the next step is, "okay, the people in the community should decide on what kinds of interference are intolerable, and create a police force to prevent those things from happening, and deal with them when they do". My, just look at the turn this has taken.

So yeah, i'd avoid the "libertarian" label. Most people who call themselves libertarians today have this childish, self-centred, utopian concept of how the world works, and are capable of little more than spouting a few choice catchphrases while ignoring the fact that managing a "community" of several million (or billion!) diverse people requires more than a hope and a prayer.


I do tend to try and avoid the libertarian label because I am not a libertarian by any means. I do believe in limited government interference in personal lives - which is a view that I share. But I am different in many, many ways. I will break some of it down more than I usually would (I have some extra time right now and so I can actually type this all down) as it does relate to this topic.

First off, as you said, most libertarians have broken it down to "I should be able to do whatever I want as long as it doesn't interfere with anyone else's freedoms (statement A)." This isn't a bad statement; I agree with this statement. I have occasionally said it on forums although never in a real life discussion where I am not limited by my speed of typing and where I can actually explain my views. The issue with this statement, and the reason why I wouldn't say it in a real life discussion, is that it is redundant. Actually, it is just meaningless.

Think about the most oppressive society that you can. Some countries have banned Youtube. Does this fit with statement A? Of course it does! All you have to do now is successfully argue that everyone has a right to live in a country free of Youtube and so, therefore, people using Youtube is infringing on the rights of everyone. The issue with this statement is that it only has real meaning after you have successfully argued what a right is.

How do we argue or establish what a right is? Another libertarian issue, in the United States, is that they are obsessed with the Constitution of this country. Don't get me wrong, I'm impressed with it. It set up a country that has been pretty successful (although not because of the Constitution). But is the Constitution or Bill of Rights actually a good place to get your list of rights? I'd argue not. For one, it was created by some people who owned slaves and so I do not trust them at all to establish what human rights are. Secondly, it is extremely dated. It was made before any of our modern technology or science. We have a right to property. Obviously, you should be able to use your property. So is denying a child their "right" to use their property - a vehicle (assuming they'd be able to afford one somehow) taking away their rights? Any socially responsible person would say no. A libertarian might choose a cop out by saying that the child is taking away the right of safety from someone else but then they'd have to consider that some children might be excellent drivers. How come this wasn't considered over 200 years ago? They didn't have vehicles! See how dated that constitution is? This is just one of thousands of examples that I could come up with.

Also, I realize that we have to give up some level of freedom for our society to functions. Any reasonable person would realize that society has done wonders for us all. I can expect to live three times longer than my ancestors of not too long ago. Internet access is everywhere, roads our built, schools are established, etc. I have to give up some level of freedom. Do I have the freedom to poor my used motor oil in the sewer instead of recycling it? Of course not! That would ruin everyone's water supply. Companies must have some sort of environmental regulation or else their waste is in our water. However, libertarians are against ANY type of economic regulation. They think that this piece of magic called the free market will handle everything and you may also know that it takes zero libertarians to screw in a light bulb because they think that the free market will do it.

On the internet, I might just take the libertarian label because it is easier than fully explaining myself and I'll use it in the context of social discussions. Economically, I think nothing like a libertarian because there is no free market solution for companies throwing their lead-acid car batteries in a landfill and thinking that everything will be fine. Where my views intercept a libertarian views are in laws established purely on the basis of morality (and I actually covered this in the fast food topic while you were gone; I am going to copy-paste some of that post since it is my material anyways).

I have NO problem giving up a little freedom (if you want to argue that not paying taxes or pouring motor oil down the sewer is a freedom) for social benefit. However, I do have an issue with laws that are purely based on someone's view of morality that they wish to shove down my throat. These laws are often completely religious based and created with the attitude of "I feel that it's immoral and so therefore no one else should be able to do it!" Did you know that pornography was made illegal in the United States quite some time ago? The way that people were able to get away with is by calling their naked picture "art." Hugh Hefner wasn't creating pornography; he's an artist. Pictures that were deemed to be obscene could be made illegal; this was done at a state level. So if I came out with a magazine that depicted my art form and California decided that it was obscene then all of a sudden I can only sell it in the other 49 states. Then the internet came out and there were issues.

Many of our pornography laws we can thank the devoutly religious and sucker for parent groups Ronald Reagan for. He felt that pornography was distasteful and immoral and that therefore, it should be illegal. However, where is any justification at a society level? If an adult (I am NOT referring to child pornography) wants to film himself/herself in the nude performing sexual acts so that other consenting adults can purchase it, then where is the harm? Some may argue that it destroys relationships but how is it anyone's job, except for the people in the relationship, to maintain a relationship?

On another note, I recall watching a police television show one time where an undercover woman cop was performing a sting operation. She was actually trying to convince a man to have sex with her for money. He was saying, "Well... I have work soon... I don't know about this..." She continued to egg him on, "Oh, come on! We'll be quick. You can go into work relaxed." Prostitution is illegal everywhere in the United States except for a few small places in Nevada (excluding Las Vegas). So what are the actual reasons that prostitution are illegal? Prostitution is legal in many places in the world and many countries do it responsibly. You have to go to a brothel. You must use a condom. The hookers are regularly checked for STDs. The red-light districts are far away from schools and such. Their alternative of regulating the industry actually works extremely well for their society and lets people keep their individual freedom of sleeping with another consensual adult as a business transaction. Hell, after I graduated college a few months back my friend and I went to Europe for a little more than a month. I went to Amsterdam and checked out their red-light district. 50 Euros made me completely forget about that damn girlfriend back in the States. Is The Netherlands just some crumbling country because they have prostitution? Germany? No. Both of those are pretty well off. Prostitution is illegal in the States because some politicians felt that it is immoral and therefore nobody should be allowed to do it. That is unacceptable restriction of personal freedoms.

I could go into drug laws (especially marijuana), the way drugs are handled, gambling laws, and many other things but I will keep it to one example. My main point is how do we really determine what rights are? The typical libertarian saying statement A can technically be arguing for the prohibition of both porn and prostitution (which is something that they think should be legal) is you accept the postulate that everyone has the right to live in a society without porn and prostitution.

New laws are created every year. Once a year I try to read all of the new laws created and I see that so many of them are an unnecessary restriction of, what I believe, are my freedom. Many of them are created with the attitude of "I don't like it and so no one else should be able to do it." This year, Utah (this won't shock you seeing as Utah is a Mormon state) created a law banning daily drink specials (i.e. happy hours). This obviously has a religious slant to it because I have not read ONE SINGLE report showing that banning happy hours does anything to significantly reduce driving under the influence cases. And the issue is that so many people think that this is valid! I recently read an article on a metal website that I visit where the author was interviewing legendary guitarist-turned-douchebag Dave Mustaine and they asked Dave what his views on gay marriage were and he responded that it should be illegal because he doesn't want to go to Hell. What? How would he go to Hell for someone else's actions? Does he believe that God will burn him for an eternity because he didn't encourage a nanny-state?

My political stance (socially, I won't get into economics because this topic is about social policies and the attitude that homosexual marriage should be banned on the basis of it goes against some people's religion) would be something close to: instead of considering rights per se, let's make a list of things that you cannot put another person threw (rape, murder, torture, theft, endangerment, etc.) and then everyone law should either protect people from those things or have some significant social value.

I can go on for much longer about some of my political differences from libertarians but I think that it would start getting redundant because many of those reasons are related to things that I have already said. Some of the other differences I have that I can quickly list are that things such as healthcare improve our society and should exist and that children are not full citizens yet and need to be protected from potentially negligent or abusive parents (which is why we have laws saying that children must attend school, cannot purchase booze, etc.).

Edit - Another thing that I just thought of that I would add is this:

Imagine that your region is in a drought. You have very limited water and crops need to be watered or else no one eats and people need to drink or else you all die. The government then tells people that they are not allowed to wash their cars or water their lawns. I believe that this is a perfectly reasonable restriction. A libertarian would probably say, "I pay for my own water bill and so I should be able to use however much I want. The government can always tax it if we don't have enough."

So which is more reasonable? Tax the Hell out of something so that less is used which means that many people may struggle to pay for the second most important thing for life (after breathing) or just not let people water their lawns and cars? It sounds like an easy answer to me. I choose the second one which allows families to be able to not dehydrate themselves because they cannot afford water just so that the rich can have green lawns and clean cars.
ocalhoun
Indi wrote:

Alan Moore's paranoid anarchism aside, ^_^; you have to remember that "the government" is not a person. It's fashionable to pretend it is, and to pretend that it's malevolent, but that's a perspective based on taking metaphor literally, with a heaping pile of paranoia; it's not based on reality.

No, it's not a single malevolent person...
But it IS a group of people that, while not 'malevolent' perhaps, are at least very much willing to advance their own interests at the expense of others.
(Supported by a much larger group of people who are 'just following orders' or 'just doing their jobs', of course.)

And more than that, while it is an inaccurate metaphor to speak of the government as a 'person', it IS an entity... a self-sustaining entity with its own interests and desires -- mostly having to do with its own continuation and growth.
(In the same way that a corporation, a football team, or a whole country might be described as an entity, that is.)
Quote:

It's important to remember that in a democratic republic - like the one you're in - YOU are the government.

Okay, if you get to lambaste the libertarians and anarchists for their idealism... it's your turn.
If I am the government, why is marijuana still illegal, why is Guantanamo still running, why do corporate handouts still get top priority, why is restricting the internet for the sake of copyrights still being debated, et cetera?
The truth is that no matter how much I might want these things to change, that's the government's prerogative, NOT mine... and my control over these things through voting and activism is still extremely limited.

It's a wonderful ideal that a democracy is effectively rule by the people -- rule by yourself even.
But I think we've all seen examples of how a democracy can be turned against the people, and how it can be entirely unresponsive to the wishes of any given individual.

...I'd even go so far as to say that the growing popularity of libertarianism and anarchism is due to the repeated failure of the democratic process... people are realizing that even when you (supposedly) have a say in what the government does, it can still do bad things: that the only way to control a government is to set firm limits on its power from the beginning, and not allow it to exceed those bounds.
spyed
As a curious open minded person I want to bring this topic back around to the main subject.

Many times when I meet a new gay person (Hello!) I like to ask them how they defend their lifestyle, because I honestly have trouble understanding. What mechanism do they suspect got them here, or caused their lifestyle choice. Evolution? Religion? Feelings? something else? It doesn't matter to me , I am just merely curious for sake of understanding.

Evolution seems to defy homosexual tendencies because those genes would quickly have been terminated as they don't promote survival.

Religion is easier to create a defense for if you stay away from monotheism, but such a small minority of people do I have yet to really hear a well thought out claim. Of course I would probably just appeal to a God without dogmatic teachings attached, but again most Gay's that I have posed this question to lean more to an atheist perspective.

"It's just how I feel" is the one I hear the most. Though it makes even less sense to me than evolution. If we are all just to do what we feel, then why do we prosecute murders, thieves, rapists, etc. (The response to that is they hurt others). To which propose well I feel like killing myself, and instantly we can't allow that (which I agree with).

So I'm just curious if you, or any others, would feel like elaborating on this line of thought more.
Indi
Afaceinthematrix wrote:
I do tend to try and avoid the libertarian label because I am not a libertarian by any means....

That's one of the best written things i've ever seen on Frihost.

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Afaceinthematrix wrote:
How do we argue or establish what a right is? Another libertarian issue, in the United States, is that they are obsessed with the Constitution of this country. Don't get me wrong, I'm impressed with it. It set up a country that has been pretty successful (although not because of the Constitution). But is the Constitution or Bill of Rights actually a good place to get your list of rights? I'd argue not. For one, it was created by some people who owned slaves and so I do not trust them at all to establish what human rights are. Secondly, it is extremely dated. It was made before any of our modern technology or science. We have a right to property. Obviously, you should be able to use your property. So is denying a child their "right" to use their property - a vehicle (assuming they'd be able to afford one somehow) taking away their rights? Any socially responsible person would say no. A libertarian might choose a cop out by saying that the child is taking away the right of safety from someone else but then they'd have to consider that some children might be excellent drivers. How come this wasn't considered over 200 years ago? They didn't have vehicles! See how dated that constitution is? This is just one of thousands of examples that I could come up with.

i don't really have much of a problem with the US Constitution. It's old yes, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing. What's right is right, and if it was right in the 18th century it will still be right now.

The Constitution does get many things right... but it also fails on other counts. This is only natural - nobody's perfect. But the people who wrote the Constitution were smart enough to realize that they weren't smart enough. Despite what those who follow the religion of Americanism believe, they would probably have been aghast to hear that they were being trotted out as experts on society 200+ years after the fact. They fully expected - and intended - that the Constitution would be retooled as people learned more; that's what the amendment process is all about. And it hasn't aged that badly; hell, it gets something write that the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms gets wrong... and the Charter was written in 1982! (The Charter enshrines religious privilege for certain religions, but not others.)

But if the Constitution were written properly, they wouldn't need to know about vehicles. For example, they could say a child doesn't have the same rights to property and freedom as an adult who could be held fully responsible for their actions. Or, just as easily, they could point out that while the car belongs to the kid... the roads don't. The roads belong to the community, and if the community doesn't want a kid on the road... that's that.

That being said, yeah, it's seriously time for a reboot. i would say the Constitution should be more or less fundamentally rewritten at least once a century, and that such a rewrite should be a process that spans at least two or three generations of government. i would imagine that the vast majority of the Constitution could be reused unchanged, so, really, there should only be debate on a few areas.

Afaceinthematrix wrote:
I have NO problem giving up a little freedom (if you want to argue that not paying taxes or pouring motor oil down the sewer is a freedom) for social benefit. However, I do have an issue with laws that are purely based on someone's view of morality that they wish to shove down my throat. These laws are often completely religious based and created with the attitude of "I feel that it's immoral and so therefore no one else should be able to do it!" Did you know that pornography was made illegal in the United States quite some time ago? The way that people were able to get away with is by calling their naked picture "art." Hugh Hefner wasn't creating pornography; he's an artist. Pictures that were deemed to be obscene could be made illegal; this was done at a state level. So if I came out with a magazine that depicted my art form and California decided that it was obscene then all of a sudden I can only sell it in the other 49 states. Then the internet came out and there were issues.

That's a good case of why federal power is better than states' power. If 49 out of 50 states are against the censorship, then it would never pass at the federal level. Interestingly enough, even if 49 out of 50 states were for the censorship, it might still not pass at the federal level, because legislators will be a lot more wary about restricting the freedoms of three hundred million people than they would about restricting the freedoms of around five million. (As evidenced by the fact that state anti-gay-marriage amendments are rampant, but the federal one can't even get off the ground.)

Afaceinthematrix wrote:
Imagine that your region is in a drought. You have very limited water and crops need to be watered or else no one eats and people need to drink or else you all die. The government then tells people that they are not allowed to wash their cars or water their lawns. I believe that this is a perfectly reasonable restriction. A libertarian would probably say, "I pay for my own water bill and so I should be able to use however much I want. The government can always tax it if we don't have enough."

So which is more reasonable? Tax the Hell out of something so that less is used which means that many people may struggle to pay for the second most important thing for life (after breathing) or just not let people water their lawns and cars? It sounds like an easy answer to me. I choose the second one which allows families to be able to not dehydrate themselves because they cannot afford water just so that the rich can have green lawns and clean cars.

That's actually similar to a typical counter-libertarian example: suppose there were ten farmers who all owned land in a row from north to south, and a stream running from north to south. According to libertarian logic, the northernmost farmer should be free to dam up that stream - after all, it's their land, and they can do whatever the hell they want on it - then sell the water at exorbitant prices to the farmers to the south. That's the free market in action. And to show how distorted the logic is, the same libertarian logic would say that there should be a police force funded by all the farmers to protect their interests... that would be obligated to prevent the other nine farmers from storming that farmer's land, and destroying the dam. In other words, a libertarian would expect 90% of the population to finance their own exploitation by the 10%. Which is totally absurd.

spyed wrote:
Many times when I meet a new gay person (Hello!) I like to ask them how they defend their lifestyle....

... defend their lifestyle? Who the hell are you that you think they have to "defend" their "lifestyle" to you? Why don't you have to defend your lifestyle to them? Overpopulation is a very real problem in the world, and you're causing the problem, breeder - so defend yourself.

spyed wrote:
Evolution seems to defy homosexual tendencies because those genes would quickly have been terminated as they don't promote survival.

To put it bluntly, you simply don't understand evolution.

Evolution does not necessarily strip out every trait that doesn't promote survival. It does not prevent things that don't affect survivability - unless a trait will diminish an organism's or their kin's chances of survival, there's no reason it will be selected against. (And even that is technically not true, because often traits that do negatively impact survival get selected for, such as in the case of runaway sexual selection... as i said, you really don't understand evolution.) Not only does having gay sex not diminish an organism's chances of survival, it may increase the survival rate for the population, by limiting over-breeding, which would cause a resource depletion.

Not only that, there's the simple fact that an organism can masturbate or gay sex it up all their lives, but all they have to do is have successful reproductive sex once, and their genes are passed on.

And on top of all that, there is the fact of kin selection, where a trait may not help an organism's survival... but it does help their kin's survival, and since their kin has most of their genes, their genes get passed on even without them actually passing it on themselves. That's the same mechanism that altruism works by. So even if an organism only had homosexual sex, it would still have its genes passed on, because homosexual sex does not diminish the population's survival rate (and, may increase it by preventing overpopulation).

spyed wrote:
To which propose well I feel like killing myself, and instantly we can't allow that (which I agree with).

Why not? Defend your lifestyle for us here, and tell us why you think "we" can't allow someone killing themself. It's their body and their life; why do you think "we" should have dominion over it?
Ankhanu
Indi wrote:
spyed wrote:
Evolution seems to defy homosexual tendencies because those genes would quickly have been terminated as they don't promote survival.

To put it bluntly, you simply don't understand evolution.

Evolution does not necessarily strip out every trait that doesn't promote survival. It does not prevent things that don't affect survivability - unless a trait will diminish an organism's or their kin's chances of survival, there's no reason it will be selected against. (And even that is technically not true, because often traits that do negatively impact survival get selected for, such as in the case of runaway sexual selection... as i said, you really don't understand evolution.) Not only does having gay sex not diminish an organism's chances of survival, it may increase the survival rate for the population, by limiting over-breeding, which would cause a resource depletion.

Not only that, there's the simple fact that an organism can masturbate or gay sex it up all their lives, but all they have to do is have successful reproductive sex once, and their genes are passed on.

And on top of all that, there is the fact of kin selection, where a trait may not help an organism's survival... but it does help their kin's survival, and since their kin has most of their genes, their genes get passed on even without them actually passing it on themselves. That's the same mechanism that altruism works by. So even if an organism only had homosexual sex, it would still have its genes passed on, because homosexual sex does not diminish the population's survival rate (and, may increase it by preventing overpopulation).

The entire homosexuality vs. evolution line makes certain assumptions: a) homosexuality is genetic, and b) homosexuality is heritable. Selection can only act upon sexual preference if these two assumptions are true, and they have not been shown to be so. As yet, we do not understand the processes by which sexual orientation is determined.

The idea that "evolution seems to defy homosexual tendencies" somewhat ignores the observable fact that homosexuality is common throughout the animal Kingdom; insects, bony fish, birds, other mammals, and, of course, humans. While I do think that homosexuality is evolutionarily disadvantageous, as it represents resource cost without reproductive benefit, it is clearly a relatively normal aspect of nature, not some "abomination", as many would use this line of argument to demonstrate (fallaciously). The argument that homosexuality operates on some kin selection level to the benefit of closely related individuals seems somewhat tenuous, and really only operates in social species, neglecting the non-social species that partake in homosexual behaviours.

If sexual preference is not genetic/heritable, then the whole line of discussion is moot anyway.
Indi
Ankhanu wrote:
The entire homosexuality vs. evolution line makes certain assumptions: a) homosexuality is genetic, and b) homosexuality is heritable. Selection can only act upon sexual preference if these two assumptions are true, and they have not been shown to be so. As yet, we do not understand the processes by which sexual orientation is determined.

Yes, but when someone raises an objection based on heritability of homosexuality, i am going to align my response based on that assumption. ie, when someone says "homosexuality shouldn't be inherited", i'm going to show that it can be. Whether or not it is is for scientists to determine, not philosophers. i can't prove that it's true, i can only prove that the assertion, "it can't be true" isn't.

Ankhanu wrote:
While I do think that homosexuality is evolutionarily disadvantageous, as it represents resource cost without reproductive benefit, it is clearly a relatively normal aspect of nature, not some "abomination", as many would use this line of argument to demonstrate (fallaciously).

i think you're using the term "evolutionarily disadvantageous" disingenuously. Many things that appear to be "evolutionarily disadvantageous" from a naive view are not. Like brightly coloured plumage on birds: evolutionarily advantageous or not? Most people, taking a naive perspective, would say "not", but that's wrong. It is evolutionarily advantageous - which is why it has evolved in so many species. The problem is that the naive view ignores that there are many different selection pressures on a species, some of which are quite subtle, and some of which conflict with and override others. Brightly coloured plumage evolved because mates wanted it, never mind the fact that it makes the males less likely to survive. A naive person would say that they evolved brightly coloured plumage despite the fact that it is "evolutionary disadvantageous", but that's categorically false; that's the speaker's biases talking, not the reality of the species. The brightly coloured plumage is evolutionarily advantageous, because the males that have it are the ones who bred.

Saying homosexuality is "evolutionarily disadvantageous" just because it doesn't obviously put food in the organism's mouth or make babies is similarly naive. There are probably more subtle mechanisms in play. For example, species that engage in homosexual behaviour are more likely to stick closer together, rather than driving same-sex members of the species away, and there is strength in numbers. This is probably why so many (possibly all, but i don't like speaking in universals without strong evidence) social species display homosexual behaviours. A naive view would be that they're "wasting resources" that could be otherwise spent on getting food or breeding, but a more subtle view is that by eliminating so much fighting amongst each other, they have far more resources on the whole, and keep the species close together to make breeding much easier.

Ankhanu wrote:
The argument that homosexuality operates on some kin selection level to the benefit of closely related individuals seems somewhat tenuous, and really only operates in social species, neglecting the non-social species that partake in homosexual behaviours.

Perhaps, but it's only one argument - the only one i bothered to mention because, obviously, we're talking about humans, and their social nature is pretty much one of their most defining characteristics. There are, of course, arguments for why homosexuality exists in non-social animals. i didn't bother to mention them because they seem irrelevant, but, for the sake of completeness:

Imagine a species where two males form a sexual bond. Males are often bigger and stronger than females. This male pair goes out doing their thing and they come across a female, so they rape her (easily done, since it's two on one), and keep her around until she gives birth, then they drive her off and raise the baby themselves. A two-male pair has a better chance of defending and providing for the offspring than a male-female pair, so... there you have it: gay babies. This is actually what happens in some bird species.

Or if you'd like a case for female homosexuality, imagine a species where males love-'em-then-leave-'em, leaving the females to tend to the offspring, but where the females form sexual bonds. Two females are going to have an easier job protecting and providing for two babies than one female is going to have protecting and providing for one (at the very least because she can't guard and hunt/forage that the same time). And you end up with... babies with a proclivity to female homosexuality.

(And all that is without assuming that the species simply humps whatever looks humpable, not bothering with determining what is male or female. That may waste some resources, but a horny species also breeds a lot more than a non-horny one.)

In fact, it may be the case that not only is homosexuality an adaptive trait, it may be an extremely important adaptive trait for evolving society and intelligence. If members of the species are willing to form relationships with members of the same sex, rather than driving them away as competition, then social groups can form... and when social groups form, cooperation makes everyone's lives easier, giving them more resources than even (even taking into account the resources they're wasting on the spurious sex), and allowing them the ability to start evolving more complex social behaviours. In other words, far from being "evolutionarily disadvantageous", gay sex may have been one of the key traits our species evolved which ultimately led to civilization. (And again, i don't know if that's what actually happened... my point is just that it could have happened, undermining the argument that homosexuality is "evolutionarily disadvantageous". At the very least, it's notable that early societies didn't develop an aversion to homosexuality until monotheistic religion came along, because by the time that came into being, the species was already socialized so much, and so technologically advanced, that it didn't really need homosexuality anymore; by that point, what the species needed was less random-coming-together, and more structure, such as the laws and dictates organized religions brought with them.)
Afaceinthematrix
Indi wrote:
That's a good case of why federal power is better than states' power. If 49 out of 50 states are against the censorship, then it would never pass at the federal level. Interestingly enough, even if 49 out of 50 states were for the censorship, it might still not pass at the federal level, because legislators will be a lot more wary about restricting the freedoms of three hundred million people than they would about restricting the freedoms of around five million. (As evidenced by the fact that state anti-gay-marriage amendments are rampant, but the federal one can't even get off the ground.)


But part of the issue is that it doesn't always work out that way and when something is handled at a federal level then you're screwed if it's a wrong decision. One recent example was in 2010 when California put "Proposition 19" on their ballot - which would have, if it had passed, legalized marijuana for recreational purposes. Now every rational thinking human being on this planet realizes that marijuana prohibition has failed, doesn't have much use in the first place, is around primarily for racists reasons, has cost obscene amounts of money, put non-violent people in prison for no good reason and likely starts them on their life of crime, etc. and so, therefore, marijuana should just be legalized. I don't think it should even be voted on - it should just be legalized (for the same argument that I gave earlier about why gay marriage shouldn't be voted on). Now Proposition 19 failed to pass. I believe that one reason was that the federal government overstepped their authority and threatened California with things such as cutting of federal funding if the law passed and so many people who would have voted for it felt that they were forced to vote against it. I still voted for it because I will not be intimidated by people overstepping their power and standing up is the only way to create change.

Another situation where the federal government used too much power is in the drinking age. The national drinking age is 18 yet states are allowed to make it higher. Every state has set the drinking age to 21. Most states used to keep it at 18 until the federal government wanted it higher and so they threatened to cut funding for national roads to any state that didn't comply (their argument being that they didn't have the power to raise it themselves but they have the power to not let drunk kids drive on their roads). However, I don't necessarily think that the drinking age being 21 is bad; I'm not against that. Most countries has a drinking age. The Canadian drinking age is 19, in Germany it is 16, and in Mexico it is $5. 21 is just as arbitrary as 16 or 19 and I cannot think of any argument that says why it should be one and not the other. I am just annoyed at how it got that way.

Remember the law I told you that made pornography illegal? That was introduced by PRESIDENT Ronald Reagan. The "War On Drugs" - Nixon. Many laws that I disagree with were introduced at the federal level. At least with the state system, I can easily (much easier than moving countries) move to another state. If I wanted to buy hookers, I could go to Nevada (except for Clark County).

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That's actually similar to a typical counter-libertarian example: suppose there were ten farmers who all owned land in a row from north to south, and a stream running from north to south. According to libertarian logic, the northernmost farmer should be free to dam up that stream - after all, it's their land, and they can do whatever the hell they want on it - then sell the water at exorbitant prices to the farmers to the south. That's the free market in action. And to show how distorted the logic is, the same libertarian logic would say that there should be a police force funded by all the farmers to protect their interests... that would be obligated to prevent the other nine farmers from storming that farmer's land, and destroying the dam. In other words, a libertarian would expect 90% of the population to finance their own exploitation by the 10%. Which is totally absurd.


I had never heard of that argument before but I like it. I like it more than my argument. I just happened to think of mine because I do believe that sometimes government allocation of resources (in my example, water) is important.
Indi
Afaceinthematrix wrote:
But part of the issue is that it doesn't always work out that way and when something is handled at a federal level then you're screwed if it's a wrong decision. One recent example was in 2010 when California put "Proposition 19" on their ballot - which would have, if it had passed, legalized marijuana for recreational purposes. Now every rational thinking human being on this planet realizes that marijuana prohibition has failed, doesn't have much use in the first place, is around primarily for racists reasons, has cost obscene amounts of money, put non-violent people in prison for no good reason and likely starts them on their life of crime, etc. and so, therefore, marijuana should just be legalized. I don't think it should even be voted on - it should just be legalized (for the same argument that I gave earlier about why gay marriage shouldn't be voted on). Now Proposition 19 failed to pass. I believe that one reason was that the federal government overstepped their authority and threatened California with things such as cutting of federal funding if the law passed and so many people who would have voted for it felt that they were forced to vote against it. I still voted for it because I will not be intimidated by people overstepping their power and standing up is the only way to create change.

Another situation where the federal government used too much power is in the drinking age. The national drinking age is 18 yet states are allowed to make it higher. Every state has set the drinking age to 21. Most states used to keep it at 18 until the federal government wanted it higher and so they threatened to cut funding for national roads to any state that didn't comply (their argument being that they didn't have the power to raise it themselves but they have the power to not let drunk kids drive on their roads). However, I don't necessarily think that the drinking age being 21 is bad; I'm not against that. Most countries has a drinking age. The Canadian drinking age is 19, in Germany it is 16, and in Mexico it is $5. 21 is just as arbitrary as 16 or 19 and I cannot think of any argument that says why it should be one and not the other. I am just annoyed at how it got that way.

Remember the law I told you that made pornography illegal? That was introduced by PRESIDENT Ronald Reagan. The "War On Drugs" - Nixon. Many laws that I disagree with were introduced at the federal level.

No level of government - federal or provincial - is going to perfect, so of course the federal government will screw up from time to time. The thing is, when the federal government screws up, the consequences are enormous. The federal government's screw-ups are legendary. In the American case, you can point to Prohibition, the drug war, the Patriot Act, various lousy wars ranging from Vietnam to Iraq.

It's the double-edged sword of power. Having as much power as they do, the feds are usually wise enough to wield that power carefully. That's why they usually don't act as stupid as state-level governments. Sometimes, though, human nature gets the better of them, they get cocky and "certain", and they pass a stupid law and... decades of strife and turmoil ensue.

But on the whole, even though they fail spectacularly, they also fail rarely. That's opposed to state-level governments which are laughably bad. You can find every manner of stupid at the state level - there are states passing laws to teach creationism in schools, states passing laws to make gay marriage illegal, states passing laws to tear down the separation of church and state.

Why, precisely, are higher level governments better? There are two reasons. First, the best politicians tend to bubble upwards - the dumbasses stay at the lowest levels. (Obviously there are exceptions to the rule, and the US seems to be a particularly bizarre case where the cranks really rise to the top, but the US's situation is unique in that it is the result of the dumbing down of both politics and the population.) Second, in the case of governance and legislation, it's often better to do nothing than to do something stupid, and that's the real reason higher level government works so much better than lower-level.

And you're right that politicians at the federal level do abuse their powers, such as in the case of the California drug law. They did the same thing to Canada, believe it or not - threatening Canada that they would raise tariffs and do other such things to crush the Canadian economy when we tried to legalize marijuana (which is not an empty threat; their economy is ten times ours, and up until the last couple of years we were incredibly reliant on them - no longer, though, we've turned our attentions to Europe and China, so watch out for the next time our government changes). But the reality is that if the governor of California actually had the stones to stand up to the feds and say, straight up, "either pass a law or back the ****** off", then California would have legalized marijuana. This is not a failure of the federal government, it is a failure of the California government. Your instincts were spot on - you have to take control of your government, you shouldn't let it control you.

Afaceinthematrix wrote:
At least with the state system, I can easily (much easier than moving countries) move to another state. If I wanted to buy hookers, I could go to Nevada (except for Clark County).

i disagree, or rather, i'd say: that may work in the short term, but in the long term you're only screwing yourself. Remember, what your government does is ultimately dictated by what you tell them to do. If you don't tell them anything, then you are leaving it in the hands of whatever schmuck got elected. You can't sit back and just let the government run... it's you, remember: you need to keep on it. Eternal vigilance and liberty, and all that. Every single citizen of a democracy should be an activist.

When a bad law gets passed, you should fight it. Every battle you run away from makes future battles that much harder. If your state passes a stupid law, and you run to another state, you're only postponing the fight - eventually the people who wanted that stupid law will set their sights on your new state. And the politicians will look at what happened in the other states where the law passed - and see it met with little resistance once passed. So from their perspective, they will see that they have noise on both sides now, but if they pass the law, the opponents simply... fade away. The logical conclusion - for them - is to pass the law. That's why you can't let up.

Afaceinthematrix wrote:
I had never heard of that argument before but I like it. I like it more than my argument. I just happened to think of mine because I do believe that sometimes government allocation of resources (in my example, water) is important.

i can't take credit for the example - it's a classic argument against libertarianism.

But yes, governments should allocate ALL necessary resources - NOTHING required for life and health should be left to the free market, ever. Water, food, health care - all of these things should be distributed by the government. At least the necessary components should be government allocated - for example, the government should make sure that every person can get the amount of water required per person... but any additional water... that can be bought and sold on the free market. In other words, if there's enough water for everyone, then not one single person in your society should suffer from thirst - ever - but if you want to fill a swimming pool or water your lawn... that you can let people go to the free market for the water for.
Afaceinthematrix
Indi wrote:
No level of government - federal or provincial - is going to perfect, so of course the federal government will screw up from time to time. The thing is, when the federal government screws up, the consequences are enormous. The federal government's screw-ups are legendary. In the American case, you can point to Prohibition, the drug war, the Patriot Act, various lousy wars ranging from Vietnam to Iraq.

It's the double-edged sword of power. Having as much power as they do, the feds are usually wise enough to wield that power carefully. That's why they usually don't act as stupid as state-level governments. Sometimes, though, human nature gets the better of them, they get cocky and "certain", and they pass a stupid law and... decades of strife and turmoil ensue.


I disagree with the statement that they use their power carefully and try to make the best decisions. I think that a more correct statement, at least in my country, would be that they make the most profitable decisions. They make decisions that will benefit campaign-funders and other lobbyists. Then you have the issue that almost nothing gets done for about six months every four years because everything is about the next election. Maybe I'm too pessimistic and so I am missing the good decisions that have been made lately at the federal level. I'd personally take the current leadership of California over the federal leadership - and that really is saying something.

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But on the whole, even though they fail spectacularly, they also fail rarely. That's opposed to state-level governments which are laughably bad. You can find every manner of stupid at the state level - there are states passing laws to teach creationism in schools, states passing laws to make gay marriage illegal, states passing laws to tear down the separation of church and state.


I won't deny that state governments can be awful. However, there are more avenues for the watchman to watch. The federal government was set up with a checks and balances systems that occasionally works. The supreme court can overturn decisions made by the federal government but that's about it.

Also, state and local governments are easier to get a hold of. I remember writing a letter to the state legislation a few years back about my opinions on an issue and I got a letter back actually discussing the issue and recognizing a few of my points as valid. However, I'm still waiting for a return on my letter from President George W. Bush about my opinions on Iraq.

Local governments are more accessible and are checked on more levels than the federal government. The federal government plays a very important role in our government - I won't deny that. However, I think that they should be very limited in acting. When Virginia wanted to legalize segregation on the basis of "state's rights," the federal government was correct to step in and end segregation as a nation on the basis of human rights.

The big issue is that most big changes start at a state level. More and more states are legalizing gay marriage and so, eventually, it will most likely be legalized on a federal government. However, if no state ever legalized gay marriage, it may never be legalized at the federal level. Change is easier on a smaller scale - which is what a state is. Continuous small changes (each time bringing new legislation - on the state level) is easier than one giant change.

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i disagree, or rather, i'd say: that may work in the short term, but in the long term you're only screwing yourself. Remember, what your government does is ultimately dictated by what you tell them to do. If you don't tell them anything, then you are leaving it in the hands of whatever schmuck got elected. You can't sit back and just let the government run... it's you, remember: you need to keep on it. Eternal vigilance and liberty, and all that. Every single citizen of a democracy should be an activist.


I stand by what I said earlier. Getting hookers legalized at a federal level would be almost impossible. If I was a prostitution activist (which I'm not; it should be legal and regulated like it is in many places in Europe, but I have far more important political things to worry about), I would start by getting it legal in California. I would also start an organization and have members from different states work on their own individual states. I think that might be easier than one federal movement - especially considering the fact that a few months back there was an extremely important meeting at the Summit of the Americas in Colombia where a bunch of really important stuff was talked about but all the media focused on were the hookers that some Americans purchased. Yeah, we don't care about the actual stuff talked about, let's just obsess over these hookers. I mean I don't blame the media. They're in this for the money; hooker news sells better than actual issues.

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When a bad law gets passed, you should fight it. Every battle you run away from makes future battles that much harder. If your state passes a stupid law, and you run to another state, you're only postponing the fight - eventually the people who wanted that stupid law will set their sights on your new state. And the politicians will look at what happened in the other states where the law passed - and see it met with little resistance once passed. So from their perspective, they will see that they have noise on both sides now, but if they pass the law, the opponents simply... fade away. The logical conclusion - for them - is to pass the law. That's why you can't let up.


Okay. I can't argue with that. Although I could argue that if I wanted to fight and get prostitution legalized in California because I think that it is a stupid law, at least I can drive to Nevada (it isn't too far) every weekend in the meantime to get myself taken care of! Ah.... If only it actually worked like that LoL!

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But yes, governments should allocate ALL necessary resources - NOTHING required for life and health should be left to the free market, ever. Water, food, health care - all of these things should be distributed by the government. At least the necessary components should be government allocated - for example, the government should make sure that every person can get the amount of water required per person... but any additional water... that can be bought and sold on the free market. In other words, if there's enough water for everyone, then not one single person in your society should suffer from thirst - ever - but if you want to fill a swimming pool or water your lawn... that you can let people go to the free market for the water for.


I disagree. I think that the government needs to allocate resources only when necessary. In some areas of California, our utilities are taken care of by the government. I actually like it that way because it keeps prices down and works better than the free market. Libertarians hate that despite the fact that it always has worked better. You purchase your utilities directly from a government company. If your area requires X amount of water (for everyone to drink and crops to get watered) for the necessities, but your area has an abundance of water, such as 100000X, then no regulation is needed (assuming that there isn't an area nearby that's in a drought and that could really use your water for the necessities). However, if that 100000 coefficient is a 1.05 coefficient then regulation is probably very necessary because your area barely has enough water and a few swimming pools can turn that 1.05 to something less than 1. This is, of course, idealistic. Most areas don't have way more resources than they could use and chances are, somewhere else in your country may need those resources for life. However, if there truly is an extreme abundance, than regulation is probably useless. I do like the ideas of things necessary for life, such as water, being sold to you by the government. It controls price.
ocalhoun
Afaceinthematrix wrote:

I disagree. I think that the government needs to allocate resources only when necessary. In some areas of California, our utilities are taken care of by the government. I actually like it that way because it keeps prices down and works better than the free market. Libertarians hate that despite the fact that it always has worked better.

There is a downside to having the rule-making authority and an entrepreneurial entity being one in the same.

Take my parents' neighborhood. They wanted to put in their own well and not rely on city water.
The local government stepped in and prevented it though -- there's a law on the books that says anyone within reach of the city water system must buy their water from the city.
Thus, they were forced to continue using the more expensive (and arguably lower quality) city water.
(And the local city's water was only expensive because they sold much of their water to neighboring urban counties... but that's a subject for another rant.)

Basically, I'd be okay with the government being a provider, but I don't like it being the only provider. Monopolies don't usually work out well for the customer, and monopolies don't get any more absolute than a government-enforced one.
(Just look at the great customer service you get when you visit your local DMV or courthouse... that's what government-mandated monopolies give you. Since you don't have the option of going elsewhere, they don't have any pressing need to treat you well.)
Afaceinthematrix
Well what are the implications of your parents installing a well? Is there a possibility of them contaminating the water table - which is where other people get their water from? Also, you need to take into account that they're essentially "stealing" the water that everyone else would have to buy. They're taking a public resource - that other people have to buy - and getting it for free. There's also the fact that, quite possibly, they would be free to take more than their fair share of water (if there's only enough water for each person to have some small amount).
ocalhoun
Afaceinthematrix wrote:
Well what are the implications of your parents installing a well? Is there a possibility of them contaminating the water table - which is where other people get their water from?

Oddly enough though, there's no law against drilling all the holes you want into it, only against drawing water out of it.
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Also, you need to take into account that they're essentially "stealing" the water that everyone else would have to buy. They're taking a public resource - that other people have to buy - and getting it for free.

Just like many other people in the area do all the time, the ones without access to city water... And just like some people in the same neighborhood still do, since they were grandfathered in when the law was made.
(Also, I'd take issue with saying the government owns (or should own) the water while it's still in the ground.)
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There's also the fact that, quite possibly, they would be free to take more than their fair share of water (if there's only enough water for each person to have some small amount).

A- Most of the water will drain right back into the aquifer eventually, either directly through the ground or through the septic system... even the water that evaporates from the surface is likely to rain back down into the same aquifer.

B- Pretty sure you could supply hundreds of over-using households with the amount of extra water a single golf course uses.
(And it's in Florida -- the retirement home of the US... there are a LOT of golf courses, all very greedy for water to keep the grass as perfectly green as people expect, despite the heat.)



I'm just throwing that up as an example of a more general issue though. When the government has a monopoly on a vital service, it provides more avenues of abuse to corrupt and/or malicious governments.
I'd prefer to keep service providers and law makers separate whenever possible, to avoid conflicts of interest.
(Which might tie into other ideas I've explored, such as an extremely divided government: Still have both under 'government' control, but keep the two parts of government as separate as possible, to the point even of describing them as two separate governments.)
Afaceinthematrix
ocalhoun wrote:

A- Most of the water will drain right back into the aquifer eventually, either directly through the ground or through the septic system... even the water that evaporates from the surface is likely to rain back down into the same aquifer.


That's quite irrelevant because you need water today to drink or else by tomorrow you'll be dehydrated and dead. We have just as much water on the planet today as we did a million years ago. The issue is that if you use it all today, we'd have to wait for it to come back via the water cycle.

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B- Pretty sure you could supply hundreds of over-using households with the amount of extra water a single golf course uses.
(And it's in Florida -- the retirement home of the US... there are a LOT of golf courses, all very greedy for water to keep the grass as perfectly green as people expect, despite the heat.)


And if Florida enters a drought, or the population increases significantly (and everyone and their mother lives in Southern Florida), then that should be the first area where water is cut. People overusing water isn't necessarily an issue if there is enough water. But the fact of the matter is that water cannot be controlled if people dig it out themselves. Even for the biggest libertarian, water rationing is completely necessary if the water supply is tight. Rationing and regulation is absolutely impossible if everyone can dig out as much as they want whenever they want. If necessary, the government owned services can put a meter on your house and allocate each household (probably based on how many people in it) a certain amount of water each month. This is undesirable, but with population increasing uncontrollably (even though it's slowed down significantly in the West), it may be necessary in many places in the world soon if not now.


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I'm just throwing that up as an example of a more general issue though. When the government has a monopoly on a vital service, it provides more avenues of abuse to corrupt and/or malicious governments.
I'd prefer to keep service providers and law makers separate whenever possible, to avoid conflicts of interest.
(Which might tie into other ideas I've explored, such as an extremely divided government: Still have both under 'government' control, but keep the two parts of government as separate as possible, to the point even of describing them as two separate governments.)


I don't think that there are too many cases of government corruption in utilities in the United States. You can drink the water straight out of the tap in almost in place in the country because it is relatively clean, it is relatively cheap, utilities (such as electricity) are slightly cheaper in low-income parts of the country, the revenues go towards green projects and finding renewable energy sources, the water is regulated in places such as Arizona where it is necessary, reservoirs are set up on public land, water is distributed from areas with high water to areas with low water, etc.

Believe me, our government is wasteful and corrupted as Hell - not as bad as many other places in the world (most of Africa and most of South America), but the politicians aren't getting those bribes (*cough*... I mean "campaign contributions") from utilities.
Indi
Afaceinthematrix wrote:
I disagree with the statement that they use their power carefully and try to make the best decisions. I think that a more correct statement, at least in my country, would be that they make the most profitable decisions. They make decisions that will benefit campaign-funders and other lobbyists. Then you have the issue that almost nothing gets done for about six months every four years because everything is about the next election. Maybe I'm too pessimistic and so I am missing the good decisions that have been made lately at the federal level. I'd personally take the current leadership of California over the federal leadership - and that really is saying something.

Well, i'm describing how it ought to be. ^_^; Not how it is. If your government is corrupt, then you should change it... but that doesn't imply the whole concept is flawed. When the filter is dirty, you just change the filter, you don't scrap the whole HVAC system.

And i'm not going to disagree with you: your federal government is corrupt. Mine is, too - and getting progressively worse. We stepped up in the last election to change things - by rejecting both of the major parties and going for a third option. It almost worked. They became the official opposition - they won second place. (The reasons why it failed are complex, but a lot of it has to do with the fact that the vote was split between the third party and one of the other two... rather than both of the other two.) The next vote is 2015 (unless called earlier), and since the last election, the third option has been climbing in popularity - they're now neck-and-neck with the party in power.

Your provincial government may be good by comparison to the feds, but that's just the luck of the draw. You're lucky you're not living in Arizona, or Texas, or any one of a number of other states with crap-ass provincial governments. But i wouldn't hold California up as a model of a good government either - maybe by comparison to the crap-ass feds, but not in general. Cali is one of those states that has amended their constitution to ban gay marriage... specifically to flip off the courts, which had ruled in against restrictions to marriage based on gender.

Afaceinthematrix wrote:
Also, state and local governments are easier to get a hold of. I remember writing a letter to the state legislation a few years back about my opinions on an issue and I got a letter back actually discussing the issue and recognizing a few of my points as valid. However, I'm still waiting for a return on my letter from President George W. Bush about my opinions on Iraq.

i'm not 100% sure on how your government works, but i'd point out that you may have addressed the wrong person. Bush was not your representative - your voice - in government. i'm not sure what he is, to you. Here in Canada, if i had a problem with the provincial government, i'd write my MPP (member of provincial parliament), and if i had a problem with the the federal government, i'd write my MP (member of (federal) parliament). i wouldn't write the prime minister (unless he happened to be my MP), because he's not my representative. In my case, i have written to my MP (never to my MPP), about some Internet laws, and got a response.

And for damn sure i got a response. When i address my reps, they ****** well better respond. They work for me, and if they piss me off, i vote for the other guy. That's how government should work.

Afaceinthematrix wrote:
Local governments are more accessible and are checked on more levels than the federal government. The federal government plays a very important role in our government - I won't deny that. However, I think that they should be very limited in acting. When Virginia wanted to legalize segregation on the basis of "state's rights," the federal government was correct to step in and end segregation as a nation on the basis of human rights.

Nah, provincial governments are usually structurally identical (more or less) to the federal government. Every check and balance that the state has, the feds have, too. The feds have an elected legislature, the state has an elected legislature. The feds have a supreme court, the state has a state supreme court. States are like "mini-me"s to the feds, normally.

And your federal reps will be every bit as accessible as your state reps (unless your state legislature is nearby but the federal one is far, of course, which makes it harder to walk up to them). Just phone up their office, or send a message, and you'll probably get a reply post-haste. Now if you're trying to chase down the president or the leader of the opposition, or something like that... you're going to have a harder time. But that's not how it's supposed to work. You're supposed to go after your representatives - the ones who are supposed to represent you.

Afaceinthematrix wrote:
The big issue is that most big changes start at a state level. More and more states are legalizing gay marriage and so, eventually, it will most likely be legalized on a federal government. However, if no state ever legalized gay marriage, it may never be legalized at the federal level. Change is easier on a smaller scale - which is what a state is. Continuous small changes (each time bringing new legislation - on the state level) is easier than one giant change.

i'm not sure the facts fit your narrative. Far from allowing gay marriage, more and more states are forbidding it. The most recent news i know if is NC adding a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage a couple of months ago.

i also think your expectations for what the federal government can or should do are a little unrealistic. The reason the feds won't do anything about gay marriage until they're forced to is because they (wisely) won't do anything about anything until they have to. For example, the feds won't pass a law against ginger-hate because no state has laws for ginger-hate. And that's exactly how it should be; you shouldn't be passing laws unless there's a real issue. Passing laws isn't something you should do just to kill time. If you have a government passing laws for problems that neither exist nor show any signs of being a problem in the near future, you have a serious problem with your government.

That's part of the reason why the feds haven't made any moves on gay marriage. Let's face it, it's not a real problem. The states should be concentrating on actual problems, rather than nonexistent ones like gay marriage, but they're not. And that's bad. The feds are doing exactly the right thing; they're doing nothing. However... now that the states have done some stupid things (passing constitutional amendments against gay marriage, for example), it's created a problem. Now the feds have to act. And now, in the 2012 election campaign, you're starting to hear real solid talk of potential action, with Obama drawing a line in the sand in favour of gay marriage, and Romney pandering to his crazy base. This doesn't mean they will act - not yet - but for the first time, real action is on the horizon. i'd predict that if Obama wins, he'll do nothing, but he'll wait for a gay marriage case to reach the Supreme Court. It's pretty obvious how they'll rule - even though they're a bunch of right-wing hacks - so they'll say the discriminatory constitutional amendments can't fly. Then Obama will act (though at that point, he won't have to do much.) The same thing will probably happen if Romney wins, although with more petulance and childish whining about activist judges forcing his hand.

Afaceinthematrix wrote:
I stand by what I said earlier. Getting hookers legalized at a federal level would be almost impossible. If I was a prostitution activist (which I'm not; it should be legal and regulated like it is in many places in Europe, but I have far more important political things to worry about), I would start by getting it legal in California. I would also start an organization and have members from different states work on their own individual states. I think that might be easier than one federal movement - especially considering the fact that a few months back there was an extremely important meeting at the Summit of the Americas in Colombia where a bunch of really important stuff was talked about but all the media focused on were the hookers that some Americans purchased. Yeah, we don't care about the actual stuff talked about, let's just obsess over these hookers. I mean I don't blame the media. They're in this for the money; hooker news sells better than actual issues.

The same situation for prostitution exists as for gay marriage; it's not a real problem, so of course the feds haven't been obligated to come down one way or another on it. The states have made it a problem by making it illegal, but thus far the repercussions of that haven't yet bubbled up to the federal level - which means that no court case challenging the constitutionality of anti-prostitution laws has crawled high enough up the ladder. But if one way or another it became a problem for the feds, you can bet your ass they'll be looking into what they should do about it.

Prostitution is a trickier issue than gay marriage though, because of the association with problems with organized crime and human trafficking. You might think that simply making it illegal would make those problems go away, as it would for drugs, but there's a subtle difference with prostitution. Drugs are plentiful; prostitutes are not. Even legal, there will be a demand for exotic... and young... prostitutes, and there will certainly be criminal elements looking to supply those demands by forcing girls into the business. And it can be excruciatingly difficult to differentiate between a young woman who is being terrorized into saying she's doing the work willingly, and one who's actually doing it willingly. (Just look at the gambling industry - even legalized, there's still a lot of problems with organized crime fixing games and such. In fact, a massive case about exactly that just broke out here in Canada.) Legalization is a great idea for drugs, because you can't "exploit" a Ziploc of green to turn a buck. For prostitution, it's trickier. i can very easily see a situation where prostitution has been legalized, but thugs are importing poor, uneducated girls - terrorizing them into submission - and the girls are too scared to speak out because it would probably mean being sent back to whatever shithole country they came from. And, when it's all legal, those "thugs" may not be literal thugs... they may be "respectable" corporations, because after all, corporations like Nike and such have just a wonderful history of not exploiting third world people, don't they?

Don't get me wrong, i'm very pro-sex-work, and i do believe the laws against it do more harm to the workers than good. It's just that i recognize that it's a trickier issue than weed.

Afaceinthematrix wrote:
Okay. I can't argue with that. Although I could argue that if I wanted to fight and get prostitution legalized in California because I think that it is a stupid law, at least I can drive to Nevada (it isn't too far) every weekend in the meantime to get myself taken care of! Ah.... If only it actually worked like that LoL!

True. ^_^; Although, if you really want to get prostitution legalized in Cali, and if you had balls of titanium, what you should do is find a similarly titatiumly-balled prostitute... and publicly announce the transaction that's happening - exchanging the money right there... right in front of the state legislature... before going into a room right across the street and doing it. Just dare them to arrest you, and if they do, take the case to court. Of course, you'd better consult a lawyer to find out under what grounds you're going to challenge the law first.

Afaceinthematrix wrote:
Quote:
But yes, governments should allocate ALL necessary resources - NOTHING required for life and health should be left to the free market, ever. Water, food, health care - all of these things should be distributed by the government. At least the necessary components should be government allocated - for example, the government should make sure that every person can get the amount of water required per person... but any additional water... that can be bought and sold on the free market. In other words, if there's enough water for everyone, then not one single person in your society should suffer from thirst - ever - but if you want to fill a swimming pool or water your lawn... that you can let people go to the free market for the water for.


I disagree. I think that the government needs to allocate resources only when necessary. In some areas of California, our utilities are taken care of by the government. I actually like it that way because it keeps prices down and works better than the free market. Libertarians hate that despite the fact that it always has worked better. You purchase your utilities directly from a government company. If your area requires X amount of water (for everyone to drink and crops to get watered) for the necessities, but your area has an abundance of water, such as 100000X, then no regulation is needed (assuming that there isn't an area nearby that's in a drought and that could really use your water for the necessities). However, if that 100000 coefficient is a 1.05 coefficient then regulation is probably very necessary because your area barely has enough water and a few swimming pools can turn that 1.05 to something less than 1. This is, of course, idealistic. Most areas don't have way more resources than they could use and chances are, somewhere else in your country may need those resources for life. However, if there truly is an extreme abundance, than regulation is probably useless. I do like the ideas of things necessary for life, such as water, being sold to you by the government. It controls price.

i think we said the same thing. ^_^; i said "the government should allocate necessary resources, but only the amount of those resources that's actually necessary", you said "the government should allocate resources only when necessary". That's the same thing, isn't it?

Put my way, i'd say that if the population needed 100,000 litres of water, but the supply is 1,000,000,000, the government should only worry themselves with the 100,000, and let the free market handle the other 999,900,000. The government should determine how many litres minimum are necessary for the community, and make sure that water is supplied properly, to the right people and places, and at reasonable prices. Beyond that, laissez faire. You wanna water your golf course or fill your swimming pool? You can pay free market prices.

Of course, if the supply is only 105,000, then the prices for that extra 5,000 can go through the roof... but that's cool. No one will die of thirst in your community; the necessary 100,000 is accounted for. Let the free market fight over the surplus, and it will probably make some people very rich, and generate massive revenues in sales taxes... but not at the expense of starving poor people. Everyone wins.

Nor does any of this require that the government actually run the water companies. The same businesses that distribute the necessary minimum can distribute the surplus, and make money off it all. All that would happen is the government would mandate that you must sell the minimum supply below a certain price, and at or below the free market price to prevent skullduggery. So let's say the government decides that the minimum amount of water a one-person household needs per year is 5 litres, and the maximum cost is $0.01 per litre. In Ontario, the water company can turn a profit at ~$0.001 per litre. So if you use 10 litres, you might get a bill for $0.002 for the first, guaranteed 5 litres, and $0.003 for each additional litre. On the other hand, if you're poor, might restrict your water use to the minimum 5 litres and pay only the $0.002 per litre. The net result: you get your minimum water, guaranteed, and at the minimum required price or market price - whichever is lower - and the water company can still turn a profit.

However, if the water company can't supply the water at less that $0.01 a litre, let's say it costs them $0.05 a litre, then this might happen: a poor household will use only the minimum 5 litres and pay only $0.01 a litre. A rich household with a swimming pool might use 95 litres, pay $0.01 for the first 5 and $0.06 for the remaining 90. It costs the water company $5.00 to supply that 100 litres... but they make $0.05 (from the poor household) + $0.05 (the first 5 L from the rich household) + $5.40 (from the extra used by the rich household). In total: their costs are $5.00, their income $5.50, their profit: $0.50. That's a 10% profit while still providing the necessary water cheaper than they can produce it!

In fact, doing it this way is actually better for the economy! Because as it currently stands, the water company has to keep prices low because the people need water - and other entities (golf courses, water parks, manufacturers, etc.) mooch off of those low prices. If, instead, you did the cap on the minimum amount, then let the water companies go postal on the surplus, you'd get real free market prices. The water companies might charge golf courses, water parts and manufacturers significantly more for the surplus, and turn a tidy profit. Which they then might invest in improving their entire infrastructure... which again benefits the people, along with the other entities they provide, and their bottom line. Everyone wins when you just use reason rather than ideology.
busman
Nice posts guys lol. I love the trickle down affect of one mention of government on a coming out thread gets down to a philisphical debate on libertarianism lol. You are all dorks for real Smile.
ocalhoun
Indi wrote:

Well, i'm describing how it ought to be. ^_^; Not how it is. If your government is corrupt, then you should change it... but that doesn't imply the whole concept is flawed. When the filter is dirty, you just change the filter, you don't scrap the whole HVAC system.

But when the filter keeps getting dirty over and over again, disappointingly quickly... when it often seems that the new filter is just as dirty as the old one... and when changing is a very difficult process involving a lot of work, and even casualties sometimes...
Maybe then it's time to reconsider the idea of having an HVAC system, or perhaps find a new way to build one that isn't so dependent upon clean filters.

(Hopefully you can work your way through my over-extension of the metaphor.)
Quote:

the third option has been climbing in popularity - they're now neck-and-neck with the party in power.

Call my cynical, but I suspect that once that third option has been the party in power for a while, they'll become just as bad as the first two, perhaps worse.

Power corrupts, after all.
Afaceinthematrix
Quote:
And i'm not going to disagree with you: your federal government is corrupt. Mine is, too - and getting progressively worse. We stepped up in the last election to change things - by rejecting both of the major parties and going for a third option. It almost worked. They became the official opposition - they won second place. (The reasons why it failed are complex, but a lot of it has to do with the fact that the vote was split between the third party and one of the other two... rather than both of the other two.) The next vote is 2015 (unless called earlier), and since the last election, the third option has been climbing in popularity - they're now neck-and-neck with the party in power.


I am desperately hoping that I live to see the day where the U.S. elects a third party candidate. I am actually going to vote for Gary Johnson because he takes a modest stance on most issues and I feel that he could be effective. He won’t stand a chance, though. The media would never touch someone who isn’t a Republican or Democrat - and each organization is slanted towards one direction.

Quote:
provincial government may be good by comparison to the feds, but that's just the luck of the draw. You're lucky you're not living in Arizona, or Texas, or any one of a number of other states with crap-ass provincial governments. But i wouldn't hold California up as a model of a good government either - maybe by comparison to the crap-ass feds, but not in general. Cali is one of those states that has amended their constitution to ban gay marriage... specifically to flip off the courts, which had ruled in against restrictions to marriage based on gender.


Yes. We voted on that actually in 2008. I think that it was Proposition 8. That is why I constantly say that some things should not be left to a vote.

Quote:
not 100% sure on how your government works, but i'd point out that you may have addressed the wrong person. Bush was not your representative - your voice - in government. i'm not sure what he is, to you. Here in Canada, if i had a problem with the provincial government, i'd write my MPP (member of provincial parliament), and if i had a problem with the the federal government, i'd write my MP (member of (federal) parliament). i wouldn't write the prime minister (unless he happened to be my MP), because he's not my representative. In my case, i have written to my MP (never to my MPP), about some Internet laws, and got a response.

And for damn sure i got a response. When i address my reps, they ****** well better respond. They work for me, and if they piss me off, i vote for the other guy. That's how government should work.


I did send a letter to the wrong guy - purposely. That was essentially my point. With smaller governments, I can communicate with the people that we elected. I have sent letters to state officials and received responses. There’s no way for me to communicate with the Feds and so I feel safer with a state government.

Edit: On a side note, one of the major news corporations (I can't remember which one) recently sponsored a sweepstakes with the grand prize being dinner with Obama (the prize included a flight to D.C., hotel, and the meal)! I, of course, entered. I would love to have dinner with Obama; I would even put on a tie (which is amazing to me considering that right now I'm wearing a Pantera t-shirt and feel that I'm dressed up - it is the weekend and so my usual attire would be gym shorts and a wife beater). I don't agree with many of Obama's policies or opinions but I definitely wouldn't be an ass. You don't tend to persuade people to accept your viewpoint that way. However, I would love to have a calm and rational conversation about the Drug War, the wars, the new Obamacare, etc. I would love to hear his opinions and I would certainly make my opinions heard. Although I obviously won't win because my odds are one out of a very large number. Everyone got one free entree and then you could, of course, purchase more entries in the form of a campaign contribution.

Quote:
provincial governments are usually structurally identical (more or less) to the federal government. Every check and balance that the state has, the feds have, too. The feds have an elected legislature, the state has an elected legislature. The feds have a supreme court, the state has a state supreme court. States are like "mini-me"s to the feds, normally.

And your federal reps will be every bit as accessible as your state reps (unless your state legislature is nearby but the federal one is far, of course, which makes it harder to walk up to them). Just phone up their office, or send a message, and you'll probably get a reply post-haste. Now if you're trying to chase down the president or the leader of the opposition, or something like that... you're going to have a harder time. But that's not how it's supposed to work. You're supposed to go after your representatives - the ones who are supposed to represent you.


What I meant was that if the state effs up - they’re checked by the Feds. If the Feds eff up - they don’t answer to a higher authority. Ergo, we need the federal government I just worry about them receiving too much power and if more power is to be handed out give it to someone who is watched.

Quote:
not sure the facts fit your narrative. Far from allowing gay marriage, more and more states are forbidding it. The most recent news i know if is NC adding a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage a couple of months ago.


It depends on how you view those facts. If a state doesn’t recognize gay marriage then I do not think that there is any practical difference between that and in banning it. You either have to fight to have it recognized or legalized. Is there a difference?


Also, that is an interested subtle difference in prostitution versus other illegal businesses.
busman
... Confused
nickfyoung
There seems to be an impression that homosexuality is only mentioned in the Old Testament. I have included a couple of verses from the new Testament just for example.

You will notice in one text that homosexuality is lumped together with such things as thieves and drunkards and all are classed as wicked.

So it is pretty obvious that God has some pretty strict rules as to who will 'inherit the kingdom of God'
I wonder how many of these so called religious people you are talking about are actually going to make it.


"Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God" (1 Corinthians 6:9-10).



Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion….Although they know God's righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them. (Romans 1:26-27, 32)
Bikerman
Pretty much nobody is going to heaven - including you I'm afraid.
Paul was very clear:
Quote:
For this ye know, that no ******, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.
'Unclean' has a particular meaning in the Jewish tradition Paul was using.
So, if you have eaten pork, shellfish, game then tough-luck. Likewise if you haven't been circumcised, or have lusted after another person, or anything else, then I'm afraid you are also toast.
Given the complete list of unclean/unKosher foods, items and acts, I think it is unlikely that more than a few hundred ultra-orthodox, vegan Christians with hormonal or endocrinal damage sufficient to have inhibited the sex-drive, have any chance of going to heaven.

(interesting that the cyber-nanny disallows the word w.horemonger ....)
nickfyoung
Bikerman wrote:
Pretty much nobody is going to heaven - including you I'm afraid.
Paul was very clear:
Quote:
For this ye know, that no ******, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.
'Unclean' has a particular meaning in the Jewish tradition Paul was using.
So, if you have eaten pork, shellfish, game then tough-luck. Likewise if you haven't been circumcised, or have lusted after another person, or anything else, then I'm afraid you are also toast.
Given the complete list of unclean/unKosher foods, items and acts, I think it is unlikely that more than a few hundred ultra-orthodox, vegan Christians with hormonal or endocrinal damage sufficient to have inhibited the sex-drive, have any chance of going to heaven.

(interesting that the cyber-nanny disallows the word w.horemonger ....)


Yes I got caught on that too.

Definitely hard to get into heaven on ones record. I certainly would not pass the grade when you look at stuff like adultery etc.

Of course no one passes the grade so we are all condemned to burn.

Thank goodness for the cross.
Bikerman
The cross makes no difference - this is Paul talking - AFTER the supposed 'new covenant'. This applies to Christians, not just to the various Jewish sects that came before.
nickfyoung
Bikerman wrote:
The cross makes no difference - this is Paul talking - AFTER the supposed 'new covenant'. This applies to Christians, not just to the various Jewish sects that came before.



The cross is central to the whole thing. It is obvious that all are going to burn because no one is good enough by God's standards.

If one is prepared to come through the cross he can make it, the only way he can.
Bikerman
You have previously said that the 'chosen' are chosen before birth and one cannot become one of the chosen because that group are 'predestined' by God.
In other words, you took a traditional Calvinist line on the matter.

Did I misunderstand you? Because you NOW appear to be saying something very different.
nickfyoung
Bikerman wrote:
You have previously said that the 'chosen' are chosen before birth and one cannot become one of the chosen because that group are 'predestined' by God.
In other words, you took a traditional Calvinist line on the matter.

Did I misunderstand you? Because you NOW appear to be saying something very different.



Even if one is of the predestined chosen, he is still human and still tainted with the sin of all fallen men.

He still has to go through the cross. The difference is that the Calvinist view says God draws him to the point where he can go through the cross. The Armianian view is that all can go through the cross by their freewill if they so desire.

The theology is because God is holy he can't look upon fallen man who is very unholy. The only way he is able to accept him is by looking at him through Jesus who payed the price for him.

So if he comes through the cross he is acceptable to God and this is the only way he is acceptable.
Bikerman
I presume you mean Arminian? If so then yes, Arminian redemption is via conditional election, whereas Calvinism involved unconditional election. Both are extremely confused theologies which don't really appear to understand predestination at all and, as with most theology, seek, instead, to muddy the waters to hide the paradoxes.
Unconditional election means you are either chosen or not, based on God' purposes which cannot be known and which may not actually include believing in Christ. In this theology, if one is NOT one of the chosen, then there is NOTHING one can do to become one - and vice-verse.
The Arminian variant - conditional election - is, basically, tautological bollox. It holds that whilst redemption (or not) is predetermined by God, that predetermination is made by God in the knowledge that the chosen will come to have faith in Christ. It is bollox for the following reason:
Arminians like to argue that their interpretation means that, so long as a person chooses by an act of free-will to believe in Christ then they can be saved. But this is not consistent with the view that the chosen were chosen before birth by God (which both Calvinists AND Arminians believe). If that is true then whether or not they come to believe in Christ is also predetermined and if something is predetermined is cannot, by definition, be an act of free-will.
nickfyoung
"Unconditional election means you are either chosen or not, based on God' purposes which cannot be known and which may not actually include believing in Christ. In this theology, if one is NOT one of the chosen, then there is NOTHING one can do to become one - and vice-verse. "


Christ did say that there is only one way to be saved and that involves believing in him.

If you are one of the chosen you are drawn by the Holy Spirit from a position of hate towards God, or at the very least of indifference, to one of love and acceptance of Christ.

If you have been chosen you still have to come through the cross.
Bikerman
Quote:
If you have been chosen you still have to come through the cross.
Not in Calvinism - show me where Calvin said any such thing.
nickfyoung
Bikerman wrote:
Quote:
If you have been chosen you still have to come through the cross.
Not in Calvinism - show me where Calvin said any such thing.


http://www.ccel.org/ccel/calvin/calcom34.ix.i.html

That is a commentary by Calvin of John 3:1,6 where Jesus said you must be born again.
Afaceinthematrix
Indi wrote:
That's part of the reason why the feds haven't made any moves on gay marriage. Let's face it, it's not a real problem. The states should be concentrating on actual problems, rather than nonexistent ones like gay marriage, but they're not. And that's bad. The feds are doing exactly the right thing; they're doing nothing. However... now that the states have done some stupid things (passing constitutional amendments against gay marriage, for example), it's created a problem. Now the feds have to act.


I forgot to answer this when I was originally answering your post because I was in a hurry.

I think that this is being short-sighted. Things that aren't a problem sometimes should have legislation made over them. I think that it was Einstein who once said, "Intelligent people solve problems; geniuses prevent them."

In the U.S., the FDA tests all drugs that enter the market to make sure that they work the way that are supposed to and that they aren't dangerous. Let's face it, a dangerous drug isn't a problem unless someone is using it, right? So why do they bother testing these before they enter the market? It's not even a problem because no one is using them. A gram of prevention is better than a kilogram of cure.

You're correct in that most of the time actual current problems should be handled. However, if the effects of DDT were known ahead of time should it have been banned before it became a problem? If we had known that the BP pipeline was going to bust in the Gulf of Mexico, would it have been a good idea to, using legislation, to force BP to fix it (although legislation would not have been needed because BP would have saved themselves billions of dollars by just fixing it; they didn't want it to bust. However, for sake of argument, let's just assume that they didn't want to fix it) even though an oil spill wasn't a problem right then (it was a problem in the near future)?
Bikerman
nickfyoung wrote:
Bikerman wrote:
Quote:
If you have been chosen you still have to come through the cross.
Not in Calvinism - show me where Calvin said any such thing.


http://www.ccel.org/ccel/calvin/calcom34.ix.i.html

That is a commentary by Calvin of John 3:1,6 where Jesus said you must be born again.

Completely irrelevant. Calvin is talking about the need for spiritual 'baptism', not predestination.
Calvin's views on the matter are clear and unambiguous. Bob Ilanesi (Calvin Scholar) puts it like this:
Quote:
The first point asserts that the entire or TOTAL human being--body and soul, intellect and will, etc.--is fallen and that everyone is born spiritually dead, helpless, and passive; indeed, everyone is worse than volitionally dead or unable to desire spiritual good but is actually enslaved to sin, positively and actively hostile to the things of the Spirit (Calvinists cite, e.g., John. 1:13; 8:43, 47; 10:26; 12:37-40; 18:37; Romans. 7:18; 8:5-8; 1 Corinthians. 2:9-14).
The second point inescapably follows from the first: since one is born totally depraved and enslaved to sin, one's ELECTION cannot be dependent or CONTINGENT on any spiritually worthy actions one commits. According to this point, God predestines or chooses to soften the hard, sin-enslaved hearts of certain fallen individuals and liberate them from their death not because of any merit they have but despite their demerits--i.e., He ELECTS to change their hearts (and thereby join them to Christ and His saving work) DESPITE the fact that they hate God and oppose Him and have hard hearts, not soft hearts, and have sin-enslaved wills, not free wills. Thus, believers have no reason to boast about themselves or their own actions: the only thing that differentiates them from Judas, Esau, or others who never respond in faith is that God gave them grace that He withheld from such reprobates (Calvinists cite, e.g., Ezek. 11:19-20; 36:26-27; Rom. 9:11-18; 1 Cor. 4:7; Eph. 2:8-10; cf. Jn. 1:13; 15:16; Acts 13:48; 16:14; 18:27; Phil. 2:13).


It can be known, today, as 'hard' predeterminism. God decided at the beginning of time who would be saved and who would be damned. There is not a 'damn' thing anyone can do about it. Ilanesi calls it 'Calvin's Tulip' -
Quote:
T -- total depravity. This doesn't mean people are as bad as they can be. It means that sin is in every part of one's being, including the mind and will, so that a man cannot save himself.
U -- unconditional election. God chooses to save people unconditionally; that is, they are not chosen on the basis of their own merit.
L -- limited atonement. The sacrifice of Christ on the cross was for the purpose of saving the elect.
I -- irresistible grace. When God has chosen to save someone, He will.
P -- perseverence of the saints. Those people God chooses cannot lose their salvation; they will continue to believe. If they fall away, it will be only for a time.


It is a logical horlicks - a complete mess. But ALL christian theology on these matters is a complete mess, so this is no surprise.
nickfyoung
"He ELECTS to change their hearts (and thereby join them to Christ and His saving work)"

As your man says, God takes the ones he has previously chosen, in their fallen totally depraved state, and by the work of the Holy Spirit, softens their hearts to the point where they can accept Jesus and be saved.

Like I said, through the cross.
Bikerman
'Through the cross' means nothing to a Calvinist. Whether the person repents, worships Jesus or whatever - IT DOESN'T MATTER. That is what 'unconditional election' means - no conditions.

Jeez, just read Calvin himself if you don't get it:
Calvin wrote:
2nd. That God proceeds in the salvation of sinners on a definite plan which descends to all the details. In the covenant of redemption he gave to his Son a definite number of the human race to be his people, whom he would redeem from the curse of the law, bring into newness of life by regeneration, justify freely by his grace, keep by his power through faith unto salvation, guide by his counsel, and afterward receive into glory. "Whom he did predestinate, them he also called, and whom he called, them he also justified, and whom he justified, them he also glorified." Those thus chosen and saved, are designated not because of faith and good works foreseen in them; but, in part, that they might have faith and might perform good works. Those not chosen are not reprobated in the sense that, they are prohibited from seeking the benefits of salvation; nor in the sense that any influence is imparted to them inducing them to reject the gospel; but they are simply passed by and permitted to follow their own inclinations, without any invincible influence adequate to make them willing in the day of his power. In this election and rejection, God is influenced by no difference of natural character in the parties perceived, nor in any conduct foreseen; but only by his will, sovereign and infinitely wise; and this, too, for the manifestation of his glorious perfections. "For he saith to Moses, I will mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion" (Rom. 9:15). "What if God, willing to show his wrath, and to make his power known, with much longsuffering, the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: and that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory?"


Clear? God chose, and his choice depended NOT A BIT on the character, personality, actions, or intentions of those chosen. Nor does God insist that they do anything to maintain their 'chosen' position. They are chosen simply because that is God's will.
nickfyoung
Bikerman wrote:
'Through the cross' means nothing to a Calvinist. Whether the person repents, worships Jesus or whatever - IT DOESN'T MATTER. That is what 'unconditional election' means - no conditions.

Jeez, just read Calvin himself if you don't get it:
Calvin wrote:
2nd. That God proceeds in the salvation of sinners on a definite plan which descends to all the details. In the covenant of redemption he gave to his Son a definite number of the human race to be his people, whom he would redeem from the curse of the law, bring into newness of life by regeneration, justify freely by his grace, keep by his power through faith unto salvation, guide by his counsel, and afterward receive into glory. "Whom he did predestinate, them he also called, and whom he called, them he also justified, and whom he justified, them he also glorified." Those thus chosen and saved, are designated not because of faith and good works foreseen in them; but, in part, that they might have faith and might perform good works. Those not chosen are not reprobated in the sense that, they are prohibited from seeking the benefits of salvation; nor in the sense that any influence is imparted to them inducing them to reject the gospel; but they are simply passed by and permitted to follow their own inclinations, without any invincible influence adequate to make them willing in the day of his power. In this election and rejection, God is influenced by no difference of natural character in the parties perceived, nor in any conduct foreseen; but only by his will, sovereign and infinitely wise; and this, too, for the manifestation of his glorious perfections. "For he saith to Moses, I will mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion" (Rom. 9:15). "What if God, willing to show his wrath, and to make his power known, with much longsuffering, the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: and that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory?"


Clear? God chose, and his choice depended NOT A BIT on the character, personality, actions, or intentions of those chosen. Nor does God insist that they do anything to maintain their 'chosen' position. They are chosen simply because that is God's will.



Ah Bikerman. We are back to the beginning again, the definition of a Christian. That is one small concept that you can't seem to comprehend which skews your thinking in this matter. It is funny how you can quote Calvin and not see what I see in that same quote.

"he gave to his Son a definite number of the human race to be his people, whom he would redeem from the curse of the law, bring into newness of life by regeneration, justify freely by his grace, keep by his power through faith unto salvation, guide by his counsel, and afterward receive into glory. "

You are correct when you say God chose unconditionally. You can see above in Calvin that Jesus was given this definite number of the chosen. Because Jesus had to redeem them from the curse of the law and regenerate them.

This is the job Jesus did on the cross, died to redeem the chosen from the curse of the law and regenerate them.

What you seem to be saying is that God chose some to be taken to heaven unsaved in their fallen state which doesn't make sense.

Incidentally, the reformed position is a little different to Calvin in a couple of respects. Calvin says there that the rest or un-chosen are left in their sins to go to hell whereas the reformed teaching is a bit more definite in that God actively chose them to go to hell. A subtle difference.
Bikerman
It isn't a case of what 'I am saying'. That is what Calvin believed and taught - you have his words under your nose, I can't make it any clearer.
The fact that it doesn't make sense is something I've been saying throughout this thread. I KNOW IT DOESN'T. NO Christian theology on redemption makes sense - none of it. It doesn't matter whether it is Calvinist, Arminian, Catholic, Anglican, Baptist, Pentecostalist or any other damn sect one can think ofl...they are ALL mad as a shed-full of mad ferrets who have been practising non-stop for weeks to compete in the world final of the maddest ferret competition.
The only decision one is left to consider is whether any of them are even slightly less mad than the others - and the answer is no when you really dig into it.
nickfyoung
That would certainly be pretty mad, a shed full of mad ferrets. You have a way with words.

You highlighted a bit of Calvin, "God is influenced by no difference of natural character in the parties perceived, nor in any conduct foreseen; but only by his will, sovereign and infinitely wise; and this, too, for the manifestation of his glorious perfections."

We agree here at least. That is unconditional election. Some were chosen unconditionally by God and that choice was in no way dependent on anything the person had done or was going to do or was or is.

Now to take Calvin a little at a time. What do you make of this piece. "In the covenant of redemption".

What is this covenant of redemption that Calvin is referring to. How do you understand that.
Bikerman
I don't try. Yes, I have looked seriously at Calvin some years ago, but to be quite honest, it is actually both boring and unproductive, so I don't tend to bother nowadays.
I used to be a pretty reasonable squash player. Asking me to analyse and critique bits of Calvinism is a bit like asking me to play squash against a 5yr old, who has no talent nor aptitude, and not much idea of the rules. To nobodies suprise the game is one-sided and ends in a complete stomping.
To then ask me what I think of his backhand drop-shot isn't really of much interest - he is an immature, pretty crap player - I don't consider it a good use of my time to look at his individual strokes in the hope of finding some small glimmer of adequacy. That is how I view Calvin. His theology on predetermination and redemption is mad (there is no more precise and descriptive word). It puts him so far out in laa-laa land that even if he managed to invent a masterpiece of Jesuitical reasoning, in defence of his redemption covenant, he is so far behind on points that he would still be trounced.

The thing to realize is that Calvin, and other apologists, believed that the bible WAS historically and factually correct, give or take a bit of parabolic license. He knew sod-all about how the world really works (let alone the wider universe). Not a great platfo9rm for arriving at truth. I also don't believe the general line about him being some sort of genius (I have frequently seen estimates of his IQ at 175-80, or rhapsodic passages soliloquising on his peerless intelligence and matchless insight - I think that is complete bollox).

Theologians in general, apologists in particular, and Calvin in spades, spend their time trying to invent new ways to interpret the writings of semi-literate and pretty insane characters like John of Patmos. It is like someone deciding to base a world-view on Moby Dick. It CAN be done, and as long as there is nobody to challenge you on the grosser points of error and distortion, one could probably come-up with something at least as plausible and coherent from Moby Dick as Christians have managed from the bible. It is, however, all a bit silly and childish really.....the bible is empirically, factually and undeniably wrong on a huge number of things - I can list them, but why bother. It is, therefore, by definition, NOT the inspired word of ANY God, unless it is granted that said God is either mad or bad. So why oh why, when this is known, provable and obvious, would any sane adult carry on with the game?*


* And finally, actually reading his 'justifications' and theological 'support' is somewhat painful for me - really, I mean it - I get a headache just thinking about having to plough through his 'commentaries' or, God forbid, his damn sermons. He twists logic beyond the point that any sane, or even sensate, man would find tolerable.
nickfyoung
In other words you don't understand it.

Remember we are debating your comment, "'Through the cross' means nothing to a Calvinist. Whether the person repents, worships Jesus or whatever - IT DOESN'T MATTER. That is what 'unconditional election' means - no conditions. "

I am a Calvinist and I know what Calvinism means and I know what Calvin meant by it.

So back to your comment, the cross means everything to a Calvinist. It is the central point on which his Christianity hinges.
Bikerman
Yea yea - we've heard this all before. You want people to believe you know more about this and that I don't.
The trouble is, all the postings are still available. So when the curious reader looks back to see if this claim is actually true, what they will see is that you have not demonstrated ANY knowledge, but have simply copy-pasted stuff you thought might look intelligent (though frequently it was off-topic as well as stolen).

They will see that, where you say my postings are ignorant and full of lies, the postings don't contain such lies and are based on fact, not just assertion/opinion.
They will then see that your contributions are largely vacuous assertion, and, on the rare occasions that they contain something you haven't plagiarised, they say nothing coherent, let alone knowledgeable.

I'm quite content to let others judge your claims and |'m pretty sure they will be ROFLTAO.
nickfyoung
So be it.

What about it guys. Is Bikerman being fair. Is he just trying to get out of admitting that is just a little bit mistaken.

I asked a fair question on a topic that he started and he can't answer it so he bluffs his way out with false accusations etc.

He is asking for your judgment. I know I am not in friendly ground here but fair is fair.

What do you reckon.
busman
nickfyoung wrote:
So be it.

What about it guys. Is Bikerman being fair. Is he just trying to get out of admitting that is just a little bit mistaken.

I asked a fair question on a topic that he started and he can't answer it so he bluffs his way out with false accusations etc.

He is asking for your judgment. I know I am not in friendly ground here but fair is fair.

What do you reckon.


Frankly this isn't the place for a religious or governmental debate and it was never meant to be, so tbh imho I could care less either way. I believe y'all know your Bible and that's that. I do to, don't give two s*'s and a giggle about any one man's interperation though. No ofense inteded by making the comment and not trying to backseat mod, but if you wanna discuss the religious aspect of sin and gay marriage absolving that sin etc., that would seem far more apropriate (like y'all were doing lol here http://www.frihost.com/forums/posting.php?mode=quote&p=1112986).
Bikerman
nickfyoung wrote:
So be it.

What about it guys. Is Bikerman being fair. Is he just trying to get out of admitting that is just a little bit mistaken.
You keep saying I'm mistaken and yet you are unable to show any specific mistake. I am NOT mistaken - I stand by all my postings on the matter - they are factually accurate.
Quote:
I asked a fair question on a topic that he started and he can't answer it so he bluffs his way out with false accusations etc.
Who started? You have some nerve.
I moved this part of the thread precisely because I did NOT wish to get into this discussion - it is WAY off the topic that I DID start. My thread was on a different topic - the issue of free-speech. It was YOU that started this massive sidetrack. First you tried to argue that religion is rational, and when that was shot-down you started another favourite pile of nonsense - stating that only Christians can understand the bible, and that poor ignorant atheists are somehow incapable of doing so.

It was classic troll tactics, which is why I split this off in the first place.

The only reason I mentioned Calvin was to correct the drivel you were writing, such as:
Quote:
If one is prepared to come through the cross he can make it, the only way he can..
That is complete bollox for ANY Calvinist - something you claim to be. Your fate was decided before you were born and will not change, whether you accept Jesus or not. That is what Calvisnism is - unconditional election means.

The fact that YOU don't understand your own damn nonsense theology is laughable, but you then try to wriggle-out by saying that it is ME that has it wrong and ME that doesn't understand.
It a pathetic way to behave and I just got tired of correcting your nonsense - I'd rather talk to people who are a little more honest and a little less full of crap.
nickfyoung
Sorry cobber. You can't bluff and bluster your way out of this one. Very standard bully tactics. I had pegged you as some one with a little more intelligence than that.

You did say to me once that you were open to new knowledge and learning and quite willing to change tack if you came across something that you did not know.

It appears that is easier said than done for you. You may be very knowledgeable in a lot of areas but that seems to have made you cocky and a bit unteachable.

I have tried to take this issue slowly bit by bit so you can understand it. But the idea that I could teach you something is so repugnant to you it is incomprehensible.

"That is complete bollox for ANY Calvinist - something you claim to be. Your fate was decided before you were born and will not change, whether you accept Jesus or not. That is what Calvisnism is - unconditional election means. "


You are blatantly wrong. WRONG. That is not what Calvinism is. That is not what unconditional election is.

I tried to show you that from the quote of Calvin that you introduced. Not me. Your own quote. Calvin says it in black and white.

Because of your Catholic past you are unable to see it and don't want to see it.

I could explain it to you again but will it do any good.

All mankind is fallen, "Bad". God selected some to be changed to "Good". He used the death of Jesus to redeem those selected from "Bad" to make them "Good". They are now able to enter heaven because they are "Good"

Because of unconditional election the chosen have no choice but to submit to this redemptive process. God changes their heart attitude so they want to anyway.

Those that are "Bad" don't want to submit to this redemptive process so they stay "Bad".


Those "Good" guys are what we call Christians. Not the ones who have been baptized in the Catholic church. You are not a Christian until you have been through the cross.

Cross theology is simple. Jesus is the second Adam who God used as a once and for all sacrifice to enable the chosen to be redeemed from their fallen, "Bad" state.

Very basic simple theology.
busman
Did either of you read my response Sad . Apparently not? C'mon peeps. I was trying to make this one thread an area of discussion not heated debate Sad . The debates you are having also have no holding on what this thread was about too. Im'ma reiterate once more, please for the love of shiva (lol irony!) if you all want a thread on the finer points of calvinism please just start one Sad . I don't get to talk about the things that are in this thread very often to anyone and I figured this would be the place to do it since it is anon. and generally more accepting than real life. If you would like to discuss the affects of legislature and religion on ANY of the points I had brought up or may be reasonably led too that's awesome but please @Bikerman and @nickfyoung lay off the in house fighting at least here. This post was meant to be a very personal and freeing post and I'm all up for discussion on any points which may be relevant to it, such a history, std's, marriage, "lifestyles", "agendas" (lol), gay's in religion (which had been stated earlier and good point @Bikerman about the celibate preisthood never thought of it like that), the personal experiences you've had with gay's ((@nickfyoung as you had posted earlier) etc.. At least in the debate about libertarianism there was a section that revolved around Marriage, but I just don't get how the finer points of Calvinism has anything to do with anything posted before midpage #2. I am not trying to mod here and no disrespect meant to either you @Bikerman or @Ocalhoun, I'm simply trying to get one post on here for the personal experiences of people and the philosophy behind the bigotry etc. and I hope that within this topic there can and will be plenty of discussion but if not I would very respectably ask that this thread be locked
Bikerman
[MOD mode]
Split the Calvin sidetrack to a new thread HERE.
[/MOD mode]
busman
Bikerman wrote:
[MOD mode]
Split the Calvin sidetrack to a new thread HERE.
[/MOD mode]


Ty sir. Very Happy
Afaceinthematrix
Indi wrote:
i also think your expectations for what the federal government can or should do are a little unrealistic. The reason the feds won't do anything about gay marriage until they're forced to is because they (wisely) won't do anything about anything until they have to. For example, the feds won't pass a law against ginger-hate because no state has laws for ginger-hate. And that's exactly how it should be; you shouldn't be passing laws unless there's a real issue. Passing laws isn't something you should do just to kill time. If you have a government passing laws for problems that neither exist nor show any signs of being a problem in the near future, you have a serious problem with your government.


I thought I would reply to this today because of a new law that I just read about. I relatively frequently read the new laws that states or the federal government have passed because I like to slowly see the freedom that they are restricting or the pure useless laws that they are passing. These next two laws were passed by states - which proves what you said; they focus on stupid shit. Last year, Utah (no surprises) passed a law banning happy hour. Did they bother doing any research showing that happy hours significantly increase DUIs? I doubt it. I sense Mormonism all over this and the legislation of religious ideals.

Now... Today... I read an article about New Jersey proposing a law that would require you to put your pets into a seat belt... Seriously. They claim that many accidents are caused by people being distracted by their pets (as you take your hand off the wheel while braking to prevent your dog from moving forward). Well guess what? I do the same to my groceries. If they are sitting on the passenger seat and I have to brake hard because some jerk-off cut me off then I might use my right hand to grab them and make sure that they don't fly off the seat. Are they going to start requiring you to strap in your groceries next? Considering that NJ has an extremely high unemployment rate, I'd think that they have more important things to worry about than a miniscule amount of accidents caused by pets. It's also illogical to require you to strap in one thing yet not require you to strap in everything else that could be a distraction. Furthermore, only 1/5 of people actually admitted to taking their hands off the wheel. This article just gives one example of an accident that happened decades ago yet fails to give any statistics about the total amount of accidents or fatalities (although I'll admit that it's probably because of an obvious slant by the author; this is an editorial and so the author is anything but objective).

The even more asinine issue with this is that the proposed fines are going to be between $250 - $1000! Now, everyone has seen the Youtube videos; we also have quite a few television commercials in the States. It's a very, very serious issue that causes thousands of accidents and deaths. The issue that I am referring to is texting while driving. I've read studies showing that you're up to 20 times more likely to get into an accident while texting than if you had 100% concentration (although the average driver doesn't put in 100%). Do you know what the fine is for texting while driving? $100 (assuming it is a first time offense and that you don't cause an accident). So a proven serious distraction like texting while driving gets less care than something that really is a non-issue.

http://editorial.autos.msn.com/blogs/autosblogpost.aspx?post=a82fed96-03aa-467e-8f84-45e5e99e2da7&icid=autos_3510
ocalhoun
Afaceinthematrix wrote:
These next two laws were passed by states - which proves what you said; they focus on stupid shit.


Well, they can't address the real issues -- their puppetmasters would object.

So they have to do something -- it's their job to make laws, right? So that's what they do, make meaningless laws all day.
Afaceinthematrix
I highly doubt that there will be an uprising if the government goes too long without passing a law. People would probably actually appreciate it! Maybe we should develop a new type of government. We elect legislatures as independent contractors and then we elect statisticians or other people to work full time. The full time workers' jobs are to just look at statistics (like the amount of people dying because Max the Dog wasn't strapped in) or to find other real public issues that need to be addressed and then after finding the real issues, they call in the legislatures to do their job and write up the proper legislation. Of course I am laughing at myself as I am typing this because it is extremely idealistic and so trivial to come up with counterexamples on why this wouldn't work that I won't bother typing them up. It's just fun to try and come up with ways to prevent legislators from writing stupid laws like this.
ocalhoun
Afaceinthematrix wrote:
I highly doubt that there will be an uprising if the government goes too long without passing a law.

An uprising, no... but their reelection chances may indeed be hurt if they have a reputation for 'doing nothing'.
Afaceinthematrix
ocalhoun wrote:
Afaceinthematrix wrote:
I highly doubt that there will be an uprising if the government goes too long without passing a law.

An uprising, no... but their reelection chances may indeed be hurt if they have a reputation for 'doing nothing'.


One of the most popular presidents of all time, George Washington, did almost nothing (as president). Another popular president is Clinton. Name three things that he did. I remember that he opened up trade routes with countries that we previously didn't trade with. That's about it. He brought troops to East Africa and we know how popular military action is. He came up with DADO - which has already been repealed. So there are two presidents who are pretty popular and both of them didn't do much as president.
ocalhoun
Afaceinthematrix wrote:

One of the most popular presidents of all time, George Washington, did almost nothing (as president).

A very different time, making this example pretty irrelevant.
Quote:
Another popular president is Clinton. Name three things that he did. I remember that he opened up trade routes with countries that we previously didn't trade with. That's about it. He brought troops to East Africa and we know how popular military action is. He came up with DADO - which has already been repealed.

Off the top of my head I can add two more things 'he did':
1- Slashing down the size and funding of the military drastically
2- Resolving the budget deficit and making progress towards paying off the national debt

I also seem to remember something important about him and medicare... but I can't seem to remember exactly what right now without looking it up.
Quote:
So there are two presidents who are pretty popular and both of them didn't do much as president.

Any president isn't a good example of this, as it's not a president's job to develop and implement new legislation -- he's mainly there to be in charge of implementing existing legislation and approving and disapproving of what the legislators come up with.

It's the two sides of congress (and their analogues in state-level governments) who have a 'job' of creating and/or changing legislation, and who might be seen as lazy or slacking if they (collectively) didn't.

Now, I'd recommend they spend some of that extra time and energy repealing old stupid laws, but that doesn't seem to occur to them.
Afaceinthematrix
ocalhoun wrote:
A very different time, making this example pretty irrelevant.


On the contrary, very relevant. It shows that there will always be a time where it is popular to do nothing. Also, we seem to have this growing movement where people think that the constitution should be treated like holy scripture and that we should go back to strictly following it. Those same people would probably like an old-fashioned president that does nothing.

Quote:
Off the top of my head I can add two more things 'he did':
1- Slashing down the size and funding of the military drastically
2- Resolving the budget deficit and making progress towards paying off the national debt

I also seem to remember something important about him and medicare... but I can't seem to remember exactly what right now without looking it up.


1) That's another military action. That adds to my two things (DADT and conflict). All of that is irrelevant now because DADT has been repealed and we have an overinflated military.

2) Not really. Every president writes a budget. He did nothing that no one else did. People always treat Clinton like he was some brilliant accountant with the budgeting skills of a single mother working two jobs. He wasn't like that. He wrote a budget like everyone else. However, he didn't write a budget that worked with the money that he had; he wrote a budget and then demanded the money to make it work. He did it backwards. As a result of the great economy that he had nothing to do with, there was low unemployment. When more people work, more money is brought in from taxes. The reason why the deficit is rising now doesn't have to do with Obama's budgeting skills, it has to do with war and high unemployment.

The medical thing that he was partially responsible for (if I'm thinking of the same thing as you) was a socialized medical system that his wife was trying to get implemented yet failed at. So he didn't really have anything to do with that and it was more of a failure of his wife.

So number two wasn't very impressive and number one goes under the category of military. So besides military action, Clinton did one thing that I can think of off the top of my head and that has to do with trade. Also, remember that he was in office for two terms - EIGHT years. Any normal person would get fired from a job if they worked there for eight years and got two things done. In eight years, his list should be a hundred items long.

So I stand by what I said, Clinton essentially did nothing. He ruled during good times which is why people remember him fondly. Furthermore, you don't have to actually do anything to be reelected. I think that politicians should do much less. Many will still be reelected because it is possible to be loved while doing nothing.
Afaceinthematrix
This gets even better. I just read about another awful piece of useless legislation. After the "controversial" NFL game last night between Greenbay and Seattle that was a result of replacement referees, Senator Steve Sweeney is actually introducing legislation that bans holding sporting events officiated by replacement referees... WTH? You're actually going to legislate who a sporting organization can hire to officiate their games just because you didn't like a bad call? This isn't a government league; it's a private league! Other leagues have existed (such as the XFL) and anyone can create another league if they have enough capital. There is absolutely no reason why they should be able to do this and I surely hope that this doesn't pass and that our tax dollars can fund things that actually matter.
Indi
ocalhoun wrote:
... when it often seems that the new filter is just as dirty as the old one...

If the new filter is as dirty as the old one, you're not really changing the filter properly, now are you?

ocalhoun wrote:
... and when changing is a very difficult process involving a lot of work, and even casualties sometimes...

How many people died as a result of the process, the last time the government in your country changed?

Cause the worst thing that happened here - the biggest and most horrific problem my country faced the last time we changed the government - was misleading robotic telephone calls.

Total killed: 0.

And how "difficult" was the process? i don't know how much trouble your people had, but Elections Canada just had to request some space, put up some booths, and train some officials. And me, all i had to do is take an hour off and mark a ballot. i think i may have sweated once, but in fairness, it was hot in the school and i didn't want to take my jacket off.

Don't be a drama queen, seriously. If there is no democratic process to elect the leadership in your country, then yes, you need a revolution to get one. But once you have one, all you need to do is use it.

ocalhoun wrote:
Maybe then it's time to reconsider the idea of having an HVAC system, or perhaps find a new way to build one that isn't so dependent upon clean filters.

Try living in a building with no HVAC system, and see how long you last. And since the whole point of an HVAC system is to filter the air, it is a bizarre non-sequitur to talk about an HVAC system without one. If you don't want the responsibility of changing filters - and doing it properly - then what you're saying, by analogy, is that you want a government that runs perfectly without requiring that you maintain it.

And to that i'd say: dream on.

ocalhoun wrote:
Call my cynical, but I suspect that once that third option has been the party in power for a while, they'll become just as bad as the first two, perhaps worse.

Power corrupts, after all.

That's why we have elections at least every five years.

Afaceinthematrix wrote:
I am desperately hoping that I live to see the day where the U.S. elects a third party candidate. I am actually going to vote for Gary Johnson because he takes a modest stance on most issues and I feel that he could be effective. He won’t stand a chance, though. The media would never touch someone who isn’t a Republican or Democrat - and each organization is slanted towards one direction.

Yes, you have serious problems in your country, not only with your two-party system, but with the concentration of your media.

i won't tell you how to fix your country, mostly because i don't know - i'm not there - but i will point out that the reason the mainstream media is so powerful is because they are so prolific. If you repeat a lie often enough, especially if there aren't any major voices protesting it, then it becomes the truth. The same is true, of course, for the truth. The more often reality is rubbed in the faces of the population, the more it will sink in.

Personally, i tune into alternate media, and i see some neat and interesting stuff. Not all of it is good - in fact, earlier today i wrote a disdainful review of this article - and some of it tends to paranoid anarchist reactionary nonsense ("wake up sheeple" shit). But i balance that stuff with some Ian Hanomansing, Amanda Lang and Peter Mansbridge. So i try to get a broader picture, mixing messages from the government-owned media with messages from counter-culture. But more importantly, i make noise. Along with nerdy science and computer stuff, i often forward clever images and infographics - things that i think will make people stop and think outside of the "normal", mainstream bounds. Here are some samples from my stream over the past week:

https://diasp.org/uploads/images/scaled_full_3041e41859d6ff23b9ba.jpg
https://sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash4/282291_402186536485520_1963073196_n.jpg
http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2628/3744204412_0446b0bb5a.jpg
http://24.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lppr2f7gIu1qa3hmdo1_500.jpg
http://d2tq98mqfjyz2l.cloudfront.net/image_cache/1345159342574218.jpg
https://fbcdn-sphotos-g-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/393203_343697272386630_487264523_n.jpg
https://joindiaspora.s3.amazonaws.com/uploads/images/scaled_full_5c50691ab590a5d59a99.jpg
https://diasp.org/uploads/images/scaled_full_83ff9a841d61eb8bbbc4.jpg
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i get stuff like that every day, pick the ones i like, then i forward them on to family and friends. (i think the only one in this set i like is the one about the rich using public transportation.) Everyone on my list gets constantly fed a view of the world other than the mainstream, which gives the mainstream's voice less power. If enough people point out the fallacies and flaws in the popular message, then the alternative becomes popular.

Afaceinthematrix wrote:
I did send a letter to the wrong guy - purposely. That was essentially my point. With smaller governments, I can communicate with the people that we elected. I have sent letters to state officials and received responses. There’s no way for me to communicate with the Feds and so I feel safer with a state government.

So, to recap, you deliberately sent a message to the wrong person, and that's your proof that the government is unresponsive? ^_^; Isn't that rather like sending a Toshiba technical support request to the accounting department at Fujitsu, then blaming Toshiba for having poor technical support?

Of course you can communicate with the feds - and you do it the same way you do with provincial reps: find out who your rep is, get their contact info, then contact them. Let's say i lived in - oh, let me pick a city - Indianapolis, Indiana. ^_^ If i wanted to talk to the local government, assuming i lived in the 2nd district, i'd talk to Angela Mansfield. If i wanted to talk to the state government, i'd talk to Mitch Daniels. If i wanted to talk to the federal government, i'd talk to André Carson (congress) or Richard Lugar (senate). In fact, check out how easy it is to find the right people to talk to in Indiana: http://www.in.gov/apps/sos/legislator/search/.

You'll notice that i never mentioned Barack Obama. That's because Barack Obama is your president, he's not your representative. Trying to talk to him (or Bush before him) is a waste of time.

If you want things done, you have to talk to the right people.

Afaceinthematrix wrote:
What I meant was that if the state effs up - they’re checked by the Feds. If the Feds eff up - they don’t answer to a higher authority. Ergo, we need the federal government I just worry about them receiving too much power and if more power is to be handed out give it to someone who is watched.

That's not correct. First of all, the feds do answer to a higher authority - you'll find it between your chair and your keyboard. Minor disapproval of a sitting legislator will probably lead to them not being reelected in the next election cycle, but if they've effed up bad enough, they might find themselves impeached, expelled, censured or reprimanded first.

It's also not true that the state answers to the feds. i do believe you fought a war over that once. The state only answers to the feds in areas that the feds have specific jurisdiction over, such as interstate trade. The state, in order to remain part of the union, must obey the federal constitution, but that doesn't mean the feds have "power" over the state, it just means that the constitution - and its source of power, which is you - has power over both the feds and the state.

Now i'll grant that your situation is weird, because the US is weird, politically. (So is Canada, incidentally - Canada is a weird hybrid between federation and confederation. The provinces are sovereign - meaning Canada doesn't have power over Ontario, for example; Ontario is one of the sovereign powers that make up the confederation. The territories are not - meaning Canada does have power over Nunavut, for example. "Canada" is basically a co-op between the ten provinces, and the territories are their, well, territories.) The US is not a confederation, so it's hard to say how much power the states actually have. It may be a federal state, which means that the states have jack-all power... but there are so many people who want the states to be sovereign, and your constitution is so vague on the topic, that it's hard to say what's true.

The bottom line, though is that it's not a simple hierarchy with you on the bottom, then your municipal government, then the state, then the feds. It's far more complicated, and you are actually on top.

Afaceinthematrix wrote:
It depends on how you view those facts. If a state doesn’t recognize gay marriage then I do not think that there is any practical difference between that and in banning it. You either have to fight to have it recognized or legalized. Is there a difference?

Not really, no; i agree with you that the difference between illegal and unrecognized is really just legal bafflegab, ultimately.

But when i said more and more states are acting to forbid gay marriage - like, outright make it verbotten, not just not saying it's allowed - i meant it. According to Wiki, only 6 states have legalized it, 2 will recognize it when done in other states (so you can only get legally gay-married in 6 states but you can live legally gay-married in Cool, while 9 make it illegal and 30 have actually changed their constitutions. Observe the spread of intolerance. The situation is not getting better, it's getting rapidly worse, and that is why the feds are now acting.

Afaceinthematrix wrote:
Also, that is an interested subtle difference in prostitution versus other illegal businesses.

Yeah, prostitution is a touchy subject - no pun intended - because it is one of those industries where the commodity is people. Or rather, not people literally - not chattel slavery - but a service directly provided by people that doesn't require a lot of skill or training. In industries where that's the case, there's a high probability of exploitation if it's not strictly regulated. This has happened many times in the past. Labour is another people service, and in years past there was rampant and horrible exploitation of people - especially children and immigrants, because it's always the most vulnerable who get exploited the worst. Even industries you wouldn't normally associate with exploitation - acting and professional sports, for example - were horribly exploitative until recently. In fact, to this day there are still industries that rely on the service of people, but exploit them mercilessly, and i'm not talking about in third world countries. You've heard of Activision? It was pretty much the first video game company (that is, dedicated to making only the games rather than also making the hardware). It was created because Atari was treating their programmers so poorly, they simply rebelled and pulled out. (And, proving their point, where is Atari now? Meanwhile Activision is still chugging along - i think their biggest recent successes are the Guitar Hero and Call of Duty series.)

The exploitation of people for the sex trade is already happening, of course, and one of the hopes of legalization is that it will make it harder to exploit, and easier for those exploited to get help. And it might! But we have to be really careful, because exploitation can and does happen legally. Consider this scenario if prostitution is legal: a company forms that seeks out people who are in a very vulnerable situation - they owe a ton of money, or they're in the country illegally - and offers them help. At first, it looks good enough; the company provides the girls with a place to live, work to do, and room and board. Then, gradually or after a short time, it forces them into prostitution, telling them that if they don't do it, they'll call in the debts or have them deported. What are the people caught in this trap to do? If they report it, they're screwed - no pun intended - so they have to go along with it. And it's all legal, more or less.

i'm all for legalizing prostitution, but unlike pot, it's not something you can just *snap* legalize. First we'd have to set up legal and support frameworks to protect prostitutes from exploitation. And that's tricky. For example, we could try a law that says only citizens in good financial standing can be prostitutes... but then that's kinda unfair to landed immigrants waiting for citizenship, and to people who want to work as prostitutes to work off debt. See? Tricky. It can probably be done, but it might be wise to hold off on legalizing prostitution until we do something about social attitudes toward women, because it's probably going to be mostly women who get exploited, and there are prevailing social attitudes that women prostitutes would deserve it because they're "******". (Hm, apparently w-h-o-r-e-s, is a no-no word.)

Afaceinthematrix wrote:
I think that this is being short-sighted. Things that aren't a problem sometimes should have legislation made over them. I think that it was Einstein who once said, "Intelligent people solve problems; geniuses prevent them."

In the U.S., the FDA tests all drugs that enter the market to make sure that they work the way that are supposed to and that they aren't dangerous. Let's face it, a dangerous drug isn't a problem unless someone is using it, right? So why do they bother testing these before they enter the market? It's not even a problem because no one is using them. A gram of prevention is better than a kilogram of cure.

You're correct in that most of the time actual current problems should be handled. However, if the effects of DDT were known ahead of time should it have been banned before it became a problem? If we had known that the BP pipeline was going to bust in the Gulf of Mexico, would it have been a good idea to, using legislation, to force BP to fix it (although legislation would not have been needed because BP would have saved themselves billions of dollars by just fixing it; they didn't want it to bust. However, for sake of argument, let's just assume that they didn't want to fix it) even though an oil spill wasn't a problem right then (it was a problem in the near future)?

i should warn you, i don't think much of Einstein as a philosopher. ^_^; The man was a brilliant physicist, but as a philosopher, he was a bungler - even a fool. Besides potted quotations like that one never tell the whole story. It's never hard to find another quotation, sometimes even by the same author, that contradicts it.

You've also over-read what i meant. i didn't mean that governments should wait until each specific problem crops up before dealing with it. It's perfectly rational to deal with problems generally. Take DDT for example: there's no reason the government should even have to act, specifically, for DDT, because it's not like DDT was the first chemical to be harmful. There have been thousands of dangerous chemicals or materials in the past, and only an idiot would think that there will never be any more. What the government should have done - ages ago, when they first realized there were chemicals that were dangerous - was set up an agency to check chemicals, and decide how dangerous they are. And it should be a scientific agency, staffed by scientists, not politicians. The agency decides the chemical is dangerous, then makes a recommendation to government on what they think should be done. Government weighs their recommendation against other factors, then makes a ruling on whether it should be banned outright, regulated, or whatever else. Note that in all of that, i never said DDT once, because this process isn't specific to DDT; it's the same process for all dangerous chemicals. And dangerous chemicals are not a hypothetical problem. So government should set up some kind of process like this - and they have - rather than reacting to each specific chemical.

Similarly, there should be no need to react specifically to the BP spill. Oil spills and other such disasters are not a hypothetical idea; several have happened from damaged ships, burst pipes, and more. The government should not have to make a law for the possibility that something specific might happen; they should have laws for the general case based on things that have happened.

And that's the logic behind the FDA. It's not like we've never seen tainted food, or drugs sold with harmful, undocumented side-effects. That's not a hypothetical problem, it's an extant one. There's no need for the government to have to worry about passing laws about one specific drug or food additive that might be dangerous; it should already have something general set up because it knows that shit has happened in the past and might happen again.

It's perfectly rational to prepare general solutions when you've already seen specific cases and know that there's a good chance that more will come. What you shouldn't do is prepare solutions - specific or general - when you've never seen any cases. That is irrational. For example, a government passing a law requiring restaurants to have three bathrooms to take tri-gendered alien species into account. Or a government passing a law banning cybernetic implants that give off gamma radiation in public areas. Why would you even assume that someone might ever make a cybernetic implant that gives off gamma radiation? And if someone ever did, then you can react to it, but it's irrational to react to hypotheticals.

The examples i just gave might be silly, but this really happens. A well-known case: some governments setting up ridiculous requirements for voting, ostensibly to combat voter fraud... ... ... that never happens. (Critics say that this is really about racism and disenfranchising poor, uneducated or transient people from voting, because they usually vote for the other guy. Maybe, maybe not, but what is certainly true is that it makes voting more complicated for everyone, for no real benefit... because there was never a problem to begin with.) When the government legislates fantasies and fears, rather than real problems, you end up with fat law books, with laws that will never be used.

Afaceinthematrix wrote:
The even more asinine issue with this is that the proposed fines are going to be between $250 - $1000! Now, everyone has seen the Youtube videos; we also have quite a few television commercials in the States. It's a very, very serious issue that causes thousands of accidents and deaths. The issue that I am referring to is texting while driving. I've read studies showing that you're up to 20 times more likely to get into an accident while texting than if you had 100% concentration (although the average driver doesn't put in 100%). Do you know what the fine is for texting while driving? $100 (assuming it is a first time offense and that you don't cause an accident). So a proven serious distraction like texting while driving gets less care than something that really is a non-issue.

i actually, i have a peeve about the texting laws, too. The thing that really bugs me about those kinds of laws is that they target technology, because to the decrepit old-fart lawmakers, technology is a big, evil boogieman. Note we have laws against texting and using cell phones while driving... but look at this:



That is Rob Ford... mayor of Toronto... reading while driving. That's on the Gardiner Expressway, too, so the speed limit's 90 klicks.

But he got off with nothing. All the police had to say about it was that he should hire a driver. Why? Because the idiots passed laws against using technology while driving... but not against reading or other non-technological distractions. i could ****** juggle while driving, and not get a ticket. But if i reach forward and touch my GPS while the car's moving... whammo, ticket.

Targeting technology is just technologically illiterate fools and Luddites lashing out at something they don't understand that scares them. Obviously driving while distracted is a general problem - it's not like it's never happened before, and people have been distracted by all kinds of nonsense: texting, reading and pets included. All that should be needed is a general law against driving while distracted. That would cover texting, reading, unrestrained pets, juggling and anything else.

Afaceinthematrix wrote:
So I stand by what I said, Clinton essentially did nothing. He ruled during good times which is why people remember him fondly. Furthermore, you don't have to actually do anything to be reelected. I think that politicians should do much less. Many will still be reelected because it is possible to be loved while doing nothing.

To be more precise, Clinton did almost nothing legislatively; he didn't push a lot of laws. He did, however, manage the country exceptionally well. You don't need to pass laws to manage the country.

In fact, the only laws i can think of that Clinton did were DADT, DMCA and DOMA, all of which were bad moves. When people look back on Clinton's time, they don't point to his legislating as part of his success.

Although, to be fair to Clinton, DADT was intended to be progressive. Clinton promised to allow gays in the military - they were completely forbidden at the time - and DADT was the compromise to make it happen. It allowed gay people to serve if they just kept quiet, which is not great, but it beats the previous situation, where the military could ask, and they could do investigations on hearsay. In other words, before DADT, if anyone accused you of being gay in the military, they could start an investigation, and kick you out. After DADT, accusations and investigations were not allowed unless the evidence was blatant. In many ways, DADT was an important step, because it made it okay to be gay in the military so long as you didn't flaunt it, which made it possible for gay soldiers to serve, do great stuff, then out themselves after their service... which totally undermines claims that gay people can't be good soldiers. And it started a discussion when competent and crucial soldiers - i remember a specific case about soldiers who could speak Arabic - who were "caught" (by evidence on Facebook, for example) got dismissed; people started saying, "well that's kinda stupid". So i wouldn't say Clinton was wrong to pass DADT. DADT was a bad law, but only viewed in hindsight. At the time, it was very progressive, and it did do a lot of good. All those people "victimized" by DADT would have been victimized without DADT, and, in fact, their entire service would have been invalid without DADT; DADT made them legitimate, legal soldiers... up until the point they were outed.

Bush Jr., meanwhile, pushed through a ton of laws. The PATRIOT act 1 and 2, No Child Left Behind, the Unborn Victims of Violence act, the Secure Fence act (aka, the "let's build a wall between us and Mexico" act). In fact, the dude didn't see legislation he didn't like... he only vetoed like three or four laws, and stem cell research he vetoed twice.

Afaceinthematrix wrote:
This gets even better. I just read about another awful piece of useless legislation. After the "controversial" NFL game last night between Greenbay and Seattle that was a result of replacement referees, Senator Steve Sweeney is actually introducing legislation that bans holding sporting events officiated by replacement referees... WTH? You're actually going to legislate who a sporting organization can hire to officiate their games just because you didn't like a bad call? This isn't a government league; it's a private league! Other leagues have existed (such as the XFL) and anyone can create another league if they have enough capital. There is absolutely no reason why they should be able to do this and I surely hope that this doesn't pass and that our tax dollars can fund things that actually matter.

Well, it's a little more complicated than that, really. i mean, sure, yes, part of the motivation for them to act is just for the sake of looking like "regular guys who care about regular things" to the voting public. But there is a legitimate concern about using replacement referees in sports, and that is that bad refereeing is dangerous to the players. i don't know the details of this particular instance - i don't give a shit about the NFL - but i do know that concern has been raised in other countries and other sports when their referees have gone on strike.

From the referees perspective, they often get paid crap compared to the players, even though they have to work harder - they're usually on the field the whole game, no rotations, and they have to train damn hard - and with great risk because they can and do get accosted by angry fans about "bad calls". In fact, they occasionally even get assaulted by the players, and the coaches. So they want good compensation, and they have a right to strike for it. Thing is, when players strike, that's usually the end of the season - they don't call in replacements for players like they do for refs. But when they do call in replacements for refs, the replacements called in are usually not nearly as skilled, and now there's a risk to the players. But the players can't refuse to play, because of their contracts. It's a dangerous situation - a labour and safety issue, not a sports one.
ocalhoun
Indi wrote:
ocalhoun wrote:
... when it often seems that the new filter is just as dirty as the old one...

If the new filter is as dirty as the old one, you're not really changing the filter properly, now are you?

And where is this magical supply of 'clean filters'?
Quote:

ocalhoun wrote:
... and when changing is a very difficult process involving a lot of work, and even casualties sometimes...

How many people died as a result of the process, the last time the government in your country changed?

The last major change? Estimated at 700,000 to 1,100,000 casualties.

Sure, there's the regular elections, but I wouldn't call that a change of filter... more like taking the filter out, flipping it over, and putting the same one back in.
Quote:


Don't be a drama queen, seriously. If there is no democratic process to elect the leadership in your country, then yes, you need a revolution to get one. But once you have one, all you need to do is use it.

And what if you have one, but it doesn't work?
Quote:

Try living in a building with no HVAC system, and see how long you last.

Been doing it for the last 4 years or so... still doing great. ^.^
Quote:

And to that i'd say: dream on.

Perhaps I am daring to dream of something better...
But you're also describing a dream world -- one where democracy works perfectly.
loveandormoney
"So this is going to be a kind of long post but I've been wanting to get this off my chest somewhere and Frihost has been good to me so I thought I might as well post it here."

Thank Your for this interesting thread
The last post is about
"dream world".

Why the relationship or the kind of relationship is a problem for other people. Also for people, who dont know the humans involved to the relationship.
So how is the difference of real world and a dream world?
busman
loveandormoney wrote:
"So this is going to be a kind of long post but I've been wanting to get this off my chest somewhere and Frihost has been good to me so I thought I might as well post it here."

Thank Your for this interesting thread
The last post is about
"dream world".

Why the relationship or the kind of relationship is a problem for other people. Also for people, who dont know the humans involved to the relationship.
So how is the difference of real world and a dream world?


Confused by what your trying to say but Thank You For Keeping Your Post On Point
loveandormoney
Thank You for Your post.
I want to explain my post with an example.
Here in the newspapers there is a big discussion in August and September:
Should all athlets publish, whether they are gay or not.
Afaceinthematrix
Indi wrote:
Yes, you have serious problems in your country, not only with your two-party system, but with the concentration of your media.

i won't tell you how to fix your country, mostly because i don't know - i'm not there - but i will point out that the reason the mainstream media is so powerful is because they are so prolific. If you repeat a lie often enough, especially if there aren't any major voices protesting it, then it becomes the truth. The same is true, of course, for the truth. The more often reality is rubbed in the faces of the population, the more it will sink in.


I don't know how to fix it either; it is difficult. Another issue that we have is that when people think of a third-party, they automatically think about the libertarian party. That is the default third-party. Nobody considers the green party, peace party, etc.

I also like some of the links that you showed me.


Quote:
So, to recap, you deliberately sent a message to the wrong person, and that's your proof that the government is unresponsive? ^_^; Isn't that rather like sending a Toshiba technical support request to the accounting department at Fujitsu, then blaming Toshiba for having poor technical support?

Of course you can communicate with the feds - and you do it the same way you do with provincial reps: find out who your rep is, get their contact info, then contact them. Let's say i lived in - oh, let me pick a city - Indianapolis, Indiana. ^_^ If i wanted to talk to the local government, assuming i lived in the 2nd district, i'd talk to Angela Mansfield. If i wanted to talk to the state government, i'd talk to Mitch Daniels. If i wanted to talk to the federal government, i'd talk to André Carson (congress) or Richard Lugar (senate). In fact, check out how easy it is to find the right people to talk to in Indiana: http://www.in.gov/apps/sos/legislator/search/.

You'll notice that i never mentioned Barack Obama. That's because Barack Obama is your president, he's not your representative. Trying to talk to him (or Bush before him) is a waste of time.

If you want things done, you have to talk to the right people.


My point was that I cannot directly contact the federal government which is why it isn't as useful to me. Sure, I can try to go through the representatives but I trust them to pass on my opinion about as much as I'd trust an alcoholic to deliver you a bottle of liquor. Besides, even if they decide to let go of their particular political slant and try to deliver my message, they'll bring up my point in their own words. When I write a letter of political importance, I might (literally) give it 12 hours of effort because I really want my words to make an impression - preferably on someone with the power to do what I think should be done (which isn't a state representative).

Quote:
That's not correct. First of all, the feds do answer to a higher authority - you'll find it between your chair and your keyboard. Minor disapproval of a sitting legislator will probably lead to them not being reelected in the next election cycle, but if they've effed up bad enough, they might find themselves impeached, expelled, censured or reprimanded first.


First off, they don't answer to me. I keep complaining about that. I wish that they answered to me. Secondly, you can screw up pretty bad and get reelected. We elected Bush a second time. Third, you can't really get impeached unless you lie about a blow job so that your wife won't find out (and Clinton didn't even really get impeached - he finished his term). The only president that we've ever officially impeached was Andrew Johnson and that was right after our Civil War.

Quote:
It's also not true that the state answers to the feds. i do believe you fought a war over that once. The state only answers to the feds in areas that the feds have specific jurisdiction over, such as interstate trade. The state, in order to remain part of the union, must obey the federal constitution, but that doesn't mean the feds have "power" over the state, it just means that the constitution - and its source of power, which is you - has power over both the feds and the state.


Ummm... Yes, we did fight a war over this. The Feds won. After the Civil War, the federal government gained so much more power than the states. Although the outcome was obviously good... I think that I've mentioned that the Feds forced every state to raise their drinking age to 21, the feds stepped in when California wanted to legalize pot, etc. The States certainly to answer to the Feds.

Quote:
Not really, no; i agree with you that the difference between illegal and unrecognized is really just legal bafflegab, ultimately.

But when i said more and more states are acting to forbid gay marriage - like, outright make it verbotten, not just not saying it's allowed - i meant it. According to Wiki, only 6 states have legalized it, 2 will recognize it when done in other states (so you can only get legally gay-married in 6 states but you can live legally gay-married in 8), while 9 make it illegal and 30 have actually changed their constitutions. Observe the spread of intolerance. The situation is not getting better, it's getting rapidly worse, and that is why the feds are now acting.


I know that some states are banning it. But, like I said, that doesn't really make a difference. If you never recognized it to start with then it was as good as banned because it wasn't possible. Therefore, banning it really doesn't make a difference.


Quote:
i should warn you, i don't think much of Einstein as a philosopher. ^_^; The man was a brilliant physicist, but as a philosopher, he was a bungler - even a fool. Besides potted quotations like that one never tell the whole story. It's never hard to find another quotation, sometimes even by the same author, that contradicts it.


A great man once said, "You don't have to be a great philosopher to say something extremely philosophically clever." Do you know who that great man was? It was me. I just said it now. My pompous arrogance can show even through a computer screen. I also don't consider Einstein as much of a philosopher - or really much of anything other than a brilliant physicist. However, I did think that was a clever statement.


Quote:
The examples i just gave might be silly, but this really happens. A well-known case: some governments setting up ridiculous requirements for voting, ostensibly to combat voter fraud... ... ... that never happens. (Critics say that this is really about racism and disenfranchising poor, uneducated or transient people from voting, because they usually vote for the other guy. Maybe, maybe not, but what is certainly true is that it makes voting more complicated for everyone, for no real benefit... because there was never a problem to begin with.) When the government legislates fantasies and fears, rather than real problems, you end up with fat law books, with laws that will never be used.


I agree with what you said but that I didn't quote. I just wanted to save space. Interestingly, the GOP is doing this right now and some critics think that it's because the people who will have trouble voting because of a lack of proper identification are more likely to vote Democrat and the GOP wants to shave votes off of them to increase their chances of winning.

Quote:

i actually, i have a peeve about the texting laws, too. The thing that really bugs me about those kinds of laws is that they target technology, because to the decrepit old-fart lawmakers, technology is a big, evil boogieman. Note we have laws against texting and using cell phones while driving... but look at this:



That is Rob Ford... mayor of Toronto... reading while driving. That's on the Gardiner Expressway, too, so the speed limit's 90 klicks.

But he got off with nothing. All the police had to say about it was that he should hire a driver. Why? Because the idiots passed laws against using technology while driving... but not against reading or other non-technological distractions. i could ****** juggle while driving, and not get a ticket. But if i reach forward and touch my GPS while the car's moving... whammo, ticket.

Targeting technology is just technologically illiterate fools and Luddites lashing out at something they don't understand that scares them. Obviously driving while distracted is a general problem - it's not like it's never happened before, and people have been distracted by all kinds of nonsense: texting, reading and pets included. All that should be needed is a general law against driving while distracted. That would cover texting, reading, unrestrained pets, juggling and anything else.


I don't think that it is as simple as you said. I don't think that these people are purposely trying to find a way to target technology because they have an issue with it. I think that they are doing exactly what you said - dealing with ISSUES. I live in Los Angeles - the area of ****** drivers. I see people texting EVERY SINGLE TIME that I get into my car and hit the highway. I cannot think of the last time that I drove anywhere and didn't see someone texting. It is a huge issue. However, I cannot think of the last time that I saw someone reading the paper or reading a book while driving. Therefore, which is more rationalize to legislate against? They're essentially doing what you said they should - dealing with issues. Reading the paper while driving really isn't an issue because hardly anyone does it and so why should they step in and legislate about it? Really, they should have written the texting laws more carefully to include any other type of obvious distraction by that is hind site.

Quote:
To be more precise, Clinton did almost nothing legislatively; he didn't push a lot of laws. He did, however, manage the country exceptionally well. You don't need to pass laws to manage the country.

In fact, the only laws i can think of that Clinton did were DADT, DMCA and DOMA, all of which were bad moves. When people look back on Clinton's time, they don't point to his legislating as part of his success.

Bush Jr., meanwhile, pushed through a ton of laws. The PATRIOT act 1 and 2, No Child Left Behind, the Unborn Victims of Violence act, the Secure Fence act (aka, the "let's build a wall between us and Mexico" act). In fact, the dude didn't see legislation he didn't like... he only vetoed like three or four laws, and stem cell research he vetoed twice.


How do you think that Clinton managed the country well? I don't necessarily disagree I just want the evidence of it. He was president over a time where the economy was doing exceptionally well and I don't know how much he actually had to do with that. I think he got lucky as to when he was president.

Besides, the point that I was making to ocalhoun was strictly about legislation. He said that people in power have to pass laws so that it looks like they did something so that they get reelected. I said that wasn't true and Clinton was an obvious example. He did almost nothing legislatively and was loved. Hell, I love him for that. DADT wasn't a bad law for the reasons that you pointed out. The DMCA wasn't a bad idea - trying to protect copyrights isn't a bad idea. DOMA was just awful. And you're right - that is literally all that he did with legislation.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Presidency_of_Bill_Clinton#Legislation_and_programs

He passed 21 things - most not major. Now look at Bush. His legislation list apparently deserved its own wikipedia page.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_George_W._Bush_legislation_and_programs


Quote:
Well, it's a little more complicated than that, really. i mean, sure, yes, part of the motivation for them to act is just for the sake of looking like "regular guys who care about regular things" to the voting public. But there is a legitimate concern about using replacement referees in sports, and that is that bad refereeing is dangerous to the players. i don't know the details of this particular instance - i don't give a shit about the NFL - but i do know that concern has been raised in other countries and other sports when their referees have gone on strike.

From the referees perspective, they often get paid crap compared to the players, even though they have to work harder - they're usually on the field the whole game, no rotations, and they have to train damn hard - and with great risk because they can and do get accosted by angry fans about "bad calls". In fact, they occasionally even get assaulted by the players, and the coaches. So they want good compensation, and they have a right to strike for it. Thing is, when players strike, that's usually the end of the season - they don't call in replacements for players like they do for refs. But when they do call in replacements for refs, the replacements called in are usually not nearly as skilled, and now there's a risk to the players. But the players can't refuse to play, because of their contracts. It's a dangerous situation - a labour and safety issue, not a sports one.


The referees of the NFL actually get paid an incredible amount of money. And I think that you are over-analyzing this problem. This is American football - not European football. In South America, the refs need police protecting when making an unpopular legitimate call. This isn't the case in the NFL. People just whine about it for days as they are doing now.

The refs don't stop players from being injured. They just call the plays that happen. I absolutely see no way that replacement referees would lead to increased injury. Furthermore, the NFL is a private organization - not a government one.
loveandormoney
Quote:

I don't know how to fix it either; it is difficult. Another issue that we have is that when people think of a third-party, they automatically think about the libertarian party. That is the default third-party. Nobody considers the green party, peace party, etc.


Do all parties have the same position in this topic?
Indi
Afaceinthematrix wrote:
I don't know how to fix it either; it is difficult. Another issue that we have is that when people think of a third-party, they automatically think about the libertarian party. That is the default third-party. Nobody considers the green party, peace party, etc.

Yes, which is depressing. The entire political landscape in the US is seen as left (Democrats), right (Republicans) and then miscellaneous wackos. Which is nonsense, really, because the reality is the Democrats are pretty right, the Republicans are way right, and the Libertarians have leaned so far right they've bent right over and plugged their heads up their asses.

Afaceinthematrix wrote:
My point was that I cannot directly contact the federal government which is why it isn't as useful to me. Sure, I can try to go through the representatives but I trust them to pass on my opinion about as much as I'd trust an alcoholic to deliver you a bottle of liquor. Besides, even if they decide to let go of their particular political slant and try to deliver my message, they'll bring up my point in their own words. When I write a letter of political importance, I might (literally) give it 12 hours of effort because I really want my words to make an impression - preferably on someone with the power to do what I think should be done (which isn't a state representative).

But my point is that you can directly contact the federal government. If i knew your riding, i could actually give you the phone number and email address to use. The problem is that you seem to think that your federal reps aren't "the federal government"... well, then, who do you think is the federal government?

Afaceinthematrix wrote:
First off, they don't answer to me. I keep complaining about that. I wish that they answered to me. Secondly, you can screw up pretty bad and get reelected. We elected Bush a second time. Third, you can't really get impeached unless you lie about a blow job so that your wife won't find out (and Clinton didn't even really get impeached - he finished his term). The only president that we've ever officially impeached was Andrew Johnson and that was right after our Civil War.

They do answer to you. They need votes. You provide votes. They pander and pose and do whatever they can to get as many votes as they can get; surely you've seen that. If they ignored the populace, they shouldn't be able to get elected. If you think about it, that's obvious. You don't live in a dictatorship or faux democracy; your leaders fight very hard for your votes. The problem isn't on that end, no matter how hard you might want to lay blame there.

Which brings us to your second point: i agree that you can screw up pretty badly and get elected in the US (for relevant definitions of "screw up" - like, i don't care if my rep ****** around on his wife, so long as he does a good job). And in fact, i'd say that's where the real problem lies. No one there seems to realize how important their vote is. All i hear is apathy about how people have to vote for so-and-so, because the alternative is worse. If neither candidate is worth voting for... don't vote for either of them. Vote for a third-party candidate, or spoil your ballot; either option sends a message. Cue people saying that's "throwing away" or "wasting" your vote, but it's not. If the candidates are really that bad - and, in many races in the US, they really are - that is the correct thing to do, and more people should be educated about that.

You have an entire country full of people who a) know jack-all about the structure of their government and b) have no clue how to vote responsibly. The system isn't broken, the people who are supposed to be using the system are.

There's no other way you can explain how - for example - you can have people running for a position that will put them only a heartbeat away from the presidency, yet believe the Earth is 6,000 years old. Did you know that half the members of the ****** science committee don't believe in evolution? Remember Todd "legitimate rape" Akin? The guy who said that women don't get pregnant from "legitimate rape"? He's on the ****** science committee! How could that happen unless no one thought it important enough to ask whether someone who was on the committee responsible for running pretty much all science in the US whether they actually knew shit about science?

(Oh, and as to the third point: you're technically correct that almost no one gets successfully impeached, but missing the point. The reason so few get impeached is not because impeachment doesn't work - in fact, it works quite well! Clinton didn't get impeached because his "crime" was bullshit; utterly unrelated to his position in political office. But in general, when people get impeached for real issues... they resign before the impeachment. Take Nixon for example. So impeachment isn't a waste of time. One way or another it gets the scum out of office, whether they try to fight and lose, or whether they just cut their losses and quit.)

See, there are two ways to approach the problem of a government that isn't working the way you want. Under normal conditions, you would use the built-in systems for citizens to take control and correct a wayward government: you would send letters to your reps, lobby, vote, etc. BUT, if you've decided that government is completely beyond saving, option two is revolution. That's a bit extreme, though, and particularly wrong-headed in this case when it's not actually the government that's broken. It's you. You're sending letters to the wrong people; you're writing off any attempt at taking control of your reps (which is really your role in a democracy) without even trying; you're not even sure of who has control of what; you're giving up - shirking your democratic responsibilities - then blaming the government. You see? It's not the government that's the problem, it's the voters. They need to be better educated - specifically about their civic powers and responsibilities. Perhaps that might help put a stop to the unnecessary apathy.

Afaceinthematrix wrote:
Ummm... Yes, we did fight a war over this. The Feds won. After the Civil War, the federal government gained so much more power than the states. Although the outcome was obviously good... I think that I've mentioned that the Feds forced every state to raise their drinking age to 21, the feds stepped in when California wanted to legalize pot, etc. The States certainly to answer to the Feds.

Your description of the events is misleading, and, really the whole point. Your government doesn't work the way you think it does, and the example you gave proves it.

Do you know how the feds made all the states change the drinking age? They passed an act that denied road-tax money to any states with a drinking age less that 21. You see? The feds do NOT control the states; they can't just pass a law telling states to set the drinking age at 21. They can, however, bully states. So no, your assertion is false: the feds do not have any actual power over the states. (Though, of course, they have the bully power of cash.) But any state that had the backbone to stand up to the feds, lower the drinking age, then challenge the feds in court for the road-tax money could win. That none have says only that neither the state government nor the people think it's that big a deal.

And this isn't hypothetical for me. Pot would be legal here in Canada, but for the same problem. The US obviously can't force Canada to do anything, but they can, and did, pressure Canada so much that Canada never legalized it.

Afaceinthematrix wrote:
I know that some states are banning it. But, like I said, that doesn't really make a difference. If you never recognized it to start with then it was as good as banned because it wasn't possible. Therefore, banning it really doesn't make a difference.

It does make a difference, because when a state is merely ignoring gay marriages done in other jurisdictions, that means there's still hope for getting things changed. When a state changes their constitution to absolutely and totally make gay marriage impossible... that's it. Unless the feds step in, or unless the government changes dramatically, that's the end of any hope for gay marriage in that state.

If you want to say there's no difference because they end up with the same functional result - no gay marriage - i'd say that's the same as saying there's no difference between being asleep and being dead: you're not getting anything done in either case. But obviously there is a big difference, because with one of those options, there's no coming back without a miracle.

Afaceinthematrix wrote:
I don't think that it is as simple as you said. I don't think that these people are purposely trying to find a way to target technology because they have an issue with it. I think that they are doing exactly what you said - dealing with ISSUES. I live in Los Angeles - the area of ****** drivers. I see people texting EVERY SINGLE TIME that I get into my car and hit the highway. I cannot think of the last time that I drove anywhere and didn't see someone texting. It is a huge issue. However, I cannot think of the last time that I saw someone reading the paper or reading a book while driving. Therefore, which is more rationalize to legislate against? They're essentially doing what you said they should - dealing with issues. Reading the paper while driving really isn't an issue because hardly anyone does it and so why should they step in and legislate about it? Really, they should have written the texting laws more carefully to include any other type of obvious distraction by that is hind site.

i don't think they're purposely trying to find ways to target technology, but i do think they're so afraid of technology that when issues arise, they blame technology before obvious social factors.

And no, simply targeting the biggest cause of a problem isn't necessary a rational way to stop a problem. For example, the biggest cause of theft is poverty; should poverty be illegal rather than theft? The same argument goes against targeting the tool most likely used in a problem. For example, knives are used in murders more than anything else; should knives be outlawed instead of murder? The problem, in this case, is not electronic devices. Electronic devices are just the most common cause of the real problem, or the most common tool used during the real problem, and the real problem is driving while distracted.

For example, your average government might look at a study of wrecks that happened while people were distracted, and see 85% happened while people were using an electronic device (cell, tablet, fussing with the car's climate control settings, whatever), while 10% were distracted by books or papers and 4% were distracted by children or pets - and the rest by miscellaneous stuff, like putting on makeup, eating food or whatever - and conclude the problem is obviously electronic devices. Which leaves anyone with sense scratching their heads... the problem is obviously DISTRACTION. The cause is really irrelevant. "But electronics cause distraction more often than anything else!" Maybe, but so what? Fix the problem, not an incidental fact; that is the rational thing to do. A law against distractions while driving would fix 100% of those problems, not just 85% (insofar as such a law can "fix" anything). A law that says that anything that takes your eyes off the road or your hands off the car's controls is forbidden would cover electronic devices and reading books, and pets and anything else we can't think of.

And then the objection will be about enforcing, but that really takes care of itself. If someone is actually caught doing something stupid while driving, the law can be used. If they get in an accident, and evidence shows they were distracted, the law can be used. The rest of the time, people will be aware of it, and will be more cautious (and if they're not, see point 1). But if someone drives distracted and gets away with it, meh, no big deal - they were lucky, no one was hurt, it's not a huge problem to let it slide. It's the same as seat-belt laws; it's a risk on their part, always with the chance of being caught, so most people will say it's not worth risking it.

Afaceinthematrix wrote:
How do you think that Clinton managed the country well? I don't necessarily disagree I just want the evidence of it. He was president over a time where the economy was doing exceptionally well and I don't know how much he actually had to do with that. I think he got lucky as to when he was president.

Oh my, yes, he did well! >_<

You have to take Clinton's presidency in historical perspective. The best presidencies to compare it to are the ones before and after - both Bush's, though Bush 1 was a single-termer. Sure, there was some luck involved - Bush 1 handed him off a growing economy (whereas, for example, Obama got handed a steaming turd) - but Clinton was in power for eight years. And things were better at the end of his presidency than they were at the start. Clearly the man deserves some credit.

But as for specifics, sure. One of the funnest things to do is compare the Clinton presidency to Bush 2. Both were 8 years, both inherited a fairly good economic situation (though, really, Bush 2 got a way better deal than Clinton). But there are some other interesting similarities.

Both suffered the worst foreign-sponsored terrorist attack on domestic soil in US history at the time during their first year in office (the 1993 WTC bombing was actually the first foreign terrorist act on US soil, and almost knocked down both towers). But WJC also had to deal with militia nuts and survivalists (Waco), and a second biggest terrorist attack in US history at the time (Oklahoma City). And don't forget the 1996 terrorist attack on the Olympics in Atlanta. Compared to that, GWB had what? Oh, sure he had 9/11, but what else? The anthrax attacks and the Beltway snipers. Whoop-de-do. Look how the two handled their problems. WJC: in all cases, the investigations were wrapped up in months, with pretty much all of the conspirators convicted within his term. In both the 93 WTC bombing and the Oklahoma bombing, Saddam was suspected, but ultimately cleared with proper detective work. GWB: almost none of the conspirators in any of the cases were captured during his tenure (Osama was killed under Obama, the anthrax guy killed himself (probably out of disappointment at GWB's efforts to catch him) in the last year of Bush's term... the only guys GWB got were the snipers). In the 9/11 case, Saddam was suspected, then on a platform of shitty intel (including non-existent WMDs and phantom chemical laboratory trucks - which we now know was all fabricated by one guy who wanted Saddam out of power, and no one but the US believed), two wars were launched... that continue to this day.

Oh, okay, but GWB had weather issues, right? i mean, Katrina, right? Katrina!!! Pshaw. WJC oversaw... not one... but two of the deadliest blizzards in history. Note: i didn't say US history, i mean world history. He also oversaw one of the deadliest heat waves in history. (For the record, Bush didn't see a single major weather disaster, by international or historic standards. Katrina didn't even make the cut. The death toll from Katrina was a couple thousand, but hurricanes regularly kill tens of thousands.)

Another interesting factoid? Right after he was elected, WJC had the lowest approval rating for a newly-elected US president... ever. But he left office with the highest approval rating of a president leaving office since WW2! Meanwhile, GWB started out with fairly good approval ratings which spiked up into the 90s right after 9/11... but left office with the lowest approval rating of a president leaving office ever.

Here's another interesting factoid: you may think WJC took office on a good day and just rode it out, but history belies that. The truth was, in the early days of WJC's presidency, the world was in turmoil. The Soviet Union had fallen apart just a year or two before, and small states were popping up, run by warlords, threatening to destabilize the world. We don't think of Clinton as a "war president", but during his tenure, he oversaw conflict and violence in dozens of countries: Somalia (Black Hawk Down), Bosnia, Haiti, Kosovo, Macedonia, Liberia, Sierra Leone, the Congo, Serbia - don't forget the Rwandan genocide and other things that don't even count as "wars". Indeed, if GWB hadn't been creating problems, he actually would have had an easy time of it. The only thing i can think of that he had to deal with - other than Iraq and Afghanistan - was Haiti.

But specifics... what exactly did Clinton do that made things work so well?

Well, first of all, he taxed the rich. He had promised to cut taxes to the middle class, but reneged (part of the reason for his low approval right at the start). Instead, he passed a budget that raised taxes on the richest 1%, cut taxes on the lowest 5%, and balanced the budget by reigning in spending. Note: not one single Republican voted for this plan, but during the first 2 years of WJC, Democrats were in charge. When the Republicans took control of Congress, they tried to undo everything WJC had done, and this was what they fought on and off about for years. But even though he cut taxes on the poor, raising taxes on the 1% was enough to balance the budget. And they hardly suffered. GWB, meanwhile, cut taxes on the rich, raised them on the poor, and never calculated how he could finance two wars without taxing the people in the US that actually have money.

The other thing Clinton did was "invent" the Internet (though it's usually Gore who gets credited with "inventing" the internet). Obviously that's not literally true, but Clinton (and Gore) vigorously pursued policies to get computers into schools and libraries and raise the US's computer literacy and connectivity... all in an era when most people didn't know what e-mail was. In fact, the Internet as we all know it - the World Wide Web - exists because of the Gore Bill, which funded the research to develop Mosaic, the first graphical web browser (which in turn led to Netscape, then Mozilla, then Firefox). The DMCA, too, was part of the attempt to commercialize the Internet, but it was a particularly misguided one. In general though, the reason we have an information economy now is because of Clinton and Gore, and a big part of the massive economic boom during their tenure was because of technology start-ups. Yes, most flopped, but many didn't, and many of those that didn't not only flourished, they became some of the biggest companies in the world. Tech more-or-less ran the US economy for the late-1990s/early-2000s, and Clinton made that happen. Very few leaders in the world have been bold enough to invest so much in new technology. GWB in particular actively opposed any real science and technology spending - he needed the cash for his wars. Had GWB been anywhere near as clever as WJC, he would have heavily funded stem cell research (for example), and driven a massive biotech economy in the US. (Or hey, he could have gone with nanotech if that offends his god less. Either way, the same way there was a computer-tech boom in the late-1990s/early-2000s that created and drove entire economies, there could have been a biotech or nanotech boom in the mid-2000s/early-2010s, rather than a cesspool economy.)

(Incidentally, there are some people who claim that WJC left GWB with a recession as a result of the tech bubble bursting, and there is some truth to that. But the real story is that WJC saw it coming and started to move to biotech - he approved funding for stem cell research, but unfortunately never got around to setting the rules for which research could be funded; GWB stepped in and set the rules stupidly, and ended up more or less putting a halt to US stem cell research by 2005. The net result us that the "recession" GWB inherited from WJC was... a blip. Literally. Like... three or four months of "meh" that you can barely notice on a 10-year graph. Meanwhile we all know about the recession GWB left his replacement with: the second worst in US history.

It's also fashionable to blame WJC for setting up the situation in the financial industry that eventually led to the collapse in 2008, but - once again - reality differs. WJC, at the very start of his tenure, actually reined in the financial industry, but after the Republicans took over Congress that put a stop to that. At the time, though, it wasn't a big deal. WJC saw the problems, but he knew the crash was a decade away; plenty of time for the guy after him to fix them before a meltdown. The guy after him didn't fix them. In fact, he undid all of WJC's controls, ignored the problem for years while he chased down Saddam and bin Laden, and ultimately made the crash that much worse.)

But while all that probably put trillions into the US economy, that's not even the biggest thing WJC did. Right from day 1, WJC aggressively pursued trade agreements with other countries, for two reasons. One: peace; the more agreements you have with a foreign power, the less they're interested in fighting you. Two: profit; if you make a "scratch-my-back-and-i'll-scratch-yours" agreement with another country about taxing imports and exports between the pair, more and cheaper goods flow back and forth. The biggest example i'm familiar with is NAFTA. NAFTA opened up trade all across North America, and, really, benefited the US far more than Canada or Mexico. It took a lot of wheeling and dealing, and Slick Willy must have been at his best, but he signed agreements with many other countries. i've heard it claimed that that the duties reduced or removed by trade agreements alone - forgetting everything else i've mentioned - would have been enough to cause the record high economic results WJC saw. What about GWB? Well, he systematically pissed on every single agreement the US had with other countries, turtled up the US economy over fears of outsourcing. The result? US manufacturers had no chance of competing in other countries, and... the car companies went tits up. But, hey, he left that for Obama to deal with.

No, there's no doubt in my mind that Clinton did a remarkable job as president. He wasn't just handed a good package, which he then just rode out for eight years. That's nonsense. Clinton oversaw not only "staying afloat", but the biggest economic growth ever (not counting wartime dips and bounces), during a period where one of the first two superpowers the world had ever seen was falling apart. That's not just luck. That was due to a policy of aggressive progressive taxation, fiscal responsibility, support for emerging technologies, and forging global markets. And, you know, not starting random wars every other year. In fact, i think it's very realistic to believe that if WJC had had 8 more years, there would have been no 2008 recession, or wars, and the whole American economy wouldn't be in the toilet. There would almost certainly have been a dip, or a cooling off, but that's all.

Afaceinthematrix wrote:
The refs don't stop players from being injured. They just call the plays that happen. I absolutely see no way that replacement referees would lead to increased injury. Furthermore, the NFL is a private organization - not a government one.

Private organizations are subject to labour laws, and putting employees in unnecessary danger is against the law in most civilized countries.

As for whether the refs do prevent injuries: the experts disagree with you. Again, i don't know American football, but in real football, there are 22 players on the field and only 1 referee plus 2 linesmen to advise them. Basically, 3 people watching 22, and more importantly controlling 22. Because left to their own devices, with all that aggression and testosterone flowing, players can and do get violent. Good referees know how to proactively stop violence. Good referees won't be fooled by cheap tricks like a distraction while your teammate wallops a key player on the other team (which hockey players love to do). To put it simply: good referees have better situational awareness (better grasp of where everyone is on the field and what they're up to), better social awareness (better sense of players' "moods", tempers, and who's more likely to be trouble) and better grasp of how to control the game without pissing off the players (which would likely just lead to more aggression).

It seems you think the only thing refs do is respond to skullduggery. If that were the case, we really wouldn't need them on the field at all. We could just use cameras to get perfect calls every time, without the refs ever getting up off their asses. No one could dispute the calls either - there would be video evidence. But refs are not just there to react to bad behaviour, they are there to PREVENT bad behaviour. They are there to identify problems before they happen, and delicately shift the flow of the game to prevent them. (In fact, i was just reading about the training of NHL refs, who call this training "off-ice theory".) A well-trained, experienced ref can, logically, prevent bad behaviour better than an inexperienced ref. Less bad behaviour means less chance of injury. Therefore, a well-trained, experienced ref can prevent injury better than an inexperienced one.

But don't take my word for it. i did a quick Google Scholar search for research to back up the argument that officiating matters in sports injury prevention. i only glanced at a half-dozen papers, on sports from hockey to soccer to baseball to volleyball. Every single one said good officiating is important in preventing injuries. Every one, without exception.
Afaceinthematrix
Indi wrote:
Which brings us to your second point: i agree that you can screw up pretty badly and get elected in the US (for relevant definitions of "screw up" - like, i don't care if my rep ****** around on his wife, so long as he does a good job). And in fact, i'd say that's where the real problem lies. No one there seems to realize how important their vote is. All i hear is apathy about how people have to vote for so-and-so, because the alternative is worse. If neither candidate is worth voting for... don't vote for either of them. Vote for a third-party candidate, or spoil your ballot; either option sends a message. Cue people saying that's "throwing away" or "wasting" your vote, but it's not. If the candidates are really that bad - and, in many races in the US, they really are - that is the correct thing to do, and more people should be educated about that.


Oh, yes, I agree. I constantly complain (and my friends are probably sick of hearing about it) that too many Americans are falling for the two party scam. Every debate involved the two parties, every media station on the television and radio only talks about the two options, people knocking on my door only talk about the two options, etc. My general technique is to just trade off voting for a different third party candidate every election. This election was supposed to the Libertarian turn and I actually like Gary Johnson; he's quite moderate for a libertarian. However, I will have to vote for the Green Party now because of recent events. Jill Stein (the GP nominee) was arrested at the "big debate" last night for protesting it. Her protest was because she felt that it is unfair that every debate only includes both major con parties and that other parties are not getting their fair chance to tell the American people their message. I will vote for her out of turn (I voted Green Party last time) because she stood up against the two major con parties and voiced her opinion on our two party scam.

What I constantly tell my friends is that it doesn't really matter which third party candidate you vote for this election because, realistically, none of them have a chance of winning. What voting for a third party candidate is doing is showing that you do not feel that the Dems or GOP are qualified for the job. You are sending a message. That is why I switch off between third parties. My vote won't help any of those parties win but it will send a message to the major parties.


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Do you know how the feds made all the states change the drinking age? They passed an act that denied road-tax money to any states with a drinking age less that 21. You see? The feds do NOT control the states; they can't just pass a law telling states to set the drinking age at 21. They can, however, bully states.


Of course I know how the feds forced the states to change their drinking age. I actually told you how they did it several posts ago (I'm not implying that you didn't know before I told you but since I did mention it earlier ago then it's obvious that I know (although I don't expect you to remember everything that I have said because this is a long thread)). I don't necessarily think that the drinking age being 21 is a bad thing. Every reasonable person agrees that we need to keep minors from drinking alcohol and so we need some drinking age and 21 is just as arbitrary as 18 and I cannot think of a reason why one is better than the other. To make that decision, I'd have to see statistics on things such as road accidents involving alcohol with both ages as the drinking age.

I think that this shows that the Federal government DOES have power over the States. Most juries would decide that extreme coercion/threats in getting a girl to have sex with you would be considered rape - even if you didn't beat her over the head with the bottle and tie her down.

However, I do see your point now and I agree that the federal government IS better than the state government. I should have just looked at history to see that from the beginning. The federal government ended slavery when quite a few states still wanted it; the federal government gave women and blacks the right to vote; the federal government ended segregation while multiple states fought against it; when states didn't want to let black people attend university, JFK sent federal officers to the states to escort the students to school and insure that they were able to attend. Most positive social change in my country has come at the federal level.


Quote:

i don't think they're purposely trying to find ways to target technology, but i do think they're so afraid of technology that when issues arise, they blame technology before obvious social factors.


I don't think so. I see older people embracing technology more and more. Most of them even see the benefits of them. My great-grandmother is in her 90s and has gotten used to email and Facebook and she loves it. She loves the fast communication with us. I don't talk to 90% of my family but apparently my grandmother and all of her siblings (I guess my great aunts and uncles) love texting with my parents and sisters and the rest of the family.

From my experience, older people embrace technology (albeit they may be slower at it than younger people) quite well and aren't afraid of it. I think that most people would consider reading the paper to be just as bad as sending a text message. However....

Quote:
And no, simply targeting the biggest cause of a problem isn't necessary a rational way to stop a problem. For example, the biggest cause of theft is poverty; should poverty be illegal rather than theft? The same argument goes against targeting the tool most likely used in a problem. For example, knives are used in murders more than anything else; should knives be outlawed instead of murder? The problem, in this case, is not electronic devices. Electronic devices are just the most common cause of the real problem, or the most common tool used during the real problem, and the real problem is driving while distracted.


I think that you are misunderstanding this. As cell phones have gotten more popular, accidents involving them have gone up significantly. As the studies were coming in and showing that you're 4 times or whatever more likely to get into a car accident than if you aren't texting, reason to worry began to increase. In my area, texting while driving has become an epidemic of some sort. I can go on the road any time of the day at any day of the week and I WILL see people texting while driving. I have seen accidents happen because of texting. If all of sorts of accidents - and quite dangerous ones - are happening because of a single cause - texting - then why doesn't it make sense to ban texting while driving? Knives serve a practical purpose. I needed a knife to chop my tomatoes that I ate with my dinner. I carry a Leatherman Multi-Tool with me all the time because I constantly need to tools - including the knife - for legitimate purposes. Texting while driving serves no legitimate purpose. It only endangers other people. And since it is a huge problem, it should be handled. If people started reading the paper while driving at epidemic levels and all the studies and statistics started coming in showing the dangers, then that would need to be handled as well.

Quote:
For example, your average government might look at a study of wrecks that happened while people were distracted, and see 85% happened while people were using an electronic device (cell, tablet, fussing with the car's climate control settings, whatever), while 10% were distracted by books or papers and 4% were distracted by children or pets - and the rest by miscellaneous stuff, like putting on makeup, eating food or whatever - and conclude the problem is obviously electronic devices. Which leaves anyone with sense scratching their heads... the problem is obviously DISTRACTION. The cause is really irrelevant. "But electronics cause distraction more often than anything else!" Maybe, but so what? Fix the problem, not an incidental fact; that is the rational thing to do. A law against distractions while driving would fix 100% of those problems, not just 85% (insofar as such a law can "fix" anything). A law that says that anything that takes your eyes off the road or your hands off the car's controls is forbidden would cover electronic devices and reading books, and pets and anything else we can't think of.


I already agreed that that would have been the best route to go. However, legislators don't always see the full picture in time. A few years back, California banned talking on your cellphone while driving. Within a day of the law passing, it was pointed out that the law didn't include the more dangerous activity - texting. California then passed a new separate law immediately in order to fix that problem. I think the main issue is that if multiple private organizations (including cell phone providers - who don't want the bad publicity of their product causing a death) start doing these studies to find out that you're four times more likely to crash if you're texting and then they start campaigning with television ads telling you of the dangers, then it's easy to see that it is a problem and pass legislation without looking at the whole picture.

Quote:
And then the objection will be about enforcing, but that really takes care of itself. If someone is actually caught doing something stupid while driving, the law can be used. If they get in an accident, and evidence shows they were distracted, the law can be used. The rest of the time, people will be aware of it, and will be more cautious (and if they're not, see point 1). But if someone drives distracted and gets away with it, meh, no big deal - they were lucky, no one was hurt, it's not a huge problem to let it slide. It's the same as seat-belt laws; it's a risk on their part, always with the chance of being caught, so most people will say it's not worth risking it.


I have an issue with seat-belt laws. I think that the driver definitely needs to wear a seat belt because if the driver flies through the windshield then who is there to operate the car until it is at a complete stop and turned off? I can also see forcing the passenger to wear it so that the passenger isn't flown into the driver. But I see no justification for forcing an idiot in the back seat to wear a seat belt. I think that should be personal choice.


I don't think that the senator wanting to pass the NFL law had anything to do with player safety. I think that he was pissed about the bad call.

Furthermore, I don't agree with the potential law - even if player safety were involved. I think that the replacement refs were adequately trained to do their best to prevent injuries (even though it's mostly in the hands of the players).
Afaceinthematrix
I thought that I would share a video that I saw today. Make sure to watch the entire video because the most important part is at the very end...

busman
Afaceinthematrix wrote:
I thought that I would share a video that I saw today. Make sure to watch the entire video because the most important part is at the very end...



That was awesome. Seriously people watch it. But if you followed the link that ass in the beginning is straight stupid.
ocalhoun
Afaceinthematrix wrote:
I will vote for her out of turn (I voted Green Party last time) because she stood up against the two major con parties and voiced her opinion on our two party scam.

I might actually follow you in that...
It's very true that the two-party scam is one of the most major things that needs to change before things can get better.
Quote:

My vote won't help any of those parties win but it will send a message to the major parties.

And that's what I tell people who aren't voting because it's a scam.
Not voting says you don't care.
Voting for a third party says you care AND you don't like the current system.
Quote:

However, I do see your point now and I agree that the federal government IS better than the state government. I should have just looked at history to see that from the beginning. The federal government ended slavery when quite a few states still wanted it [...] Most positive social change in my country has come at the federal level.

Conversely, some states abolished slavery before the federal government did.
I'd say most high-profile social change comes from the federal... but often it begins with the states.

(Likewise, some states now allow marijuana use, while the feds still have a full-on drug war going... some states allow gay marriage, while it will probably be a long time before that gets federally sanctioned...)

But beyond any argument over track records, I'm more in favor of more local government for two reasons:
A- Philosophical: The (currently unobtainable) ideal government is each man governing himself and no other. The more local and small-scale government is, the better it can approximate that.
...The smaller a government is, the more control each individual in it has over it.
B- It allows people to choose the government they want (in a way that's more effective than voting). It's much easier to move to a state/county/city that has favorable laws than to change the laws where you are. But, the larger an area a government controls, the more difficult it will be to escape its control if you feel the need to.
(For example, Don't like the death penalty? Then you can (relatively easily) move to a state that doesn't have it. Don't like income tax? Move to a state that doesn't have that. City ordinance putting an unjust ban on firearms? Go to a city that doesn't.)
Yes, moving can be very difficult for some... but it is easier than the sometimes frankly impossible task of causing change through voting... and at the least, allowing more options is better.
loveandormoney
Quote:


Do you know how the feds made all the states change the drinking age?


Good morning
what is the relationship

government drugs gay?

Regards
Indi
Afaceinthematrix wrote:
What I constantly tell my friends is that it doesn't really matter which third party candidate you vote for this election because, realistically, none of them have a chance of winning. What voting for a third party candidate is doing is showing that you do not feel that the Dems or GOP are qualified for the job. You are sending a message. That is why I switch off between third parties. My vote won't help any of those parties win but it will send a message to the major parties.

Don't rule out strategic voting, where it can matter which third-party candidate you vote for - if any - and sometimes it's better to vote against your preference.

For example, suppose there were three parties running in my riding: Conservative, Liberal and Christian Heritage. Of those three, my grudging choice would be Liberal; they're sleazy, corrupt, wishy-washy on important social issues and generally useless... but at least they're not the Conservatives, who put the tax burden on the poor rather than the rich, shut down important social services and want to ban gay marriage and abortion, and the Christian Heritage party is just some obscure, right-wing party (this is a similar situation to the US, i guess, with the Democrats, Republicans and any third party). However, suppose that i knew that the Liberal was already going to sail to an easy victory. Or, suppose i knew that the Conservative was going to, and my vote really wouldn't change that. In either case, my vote won't make much of a difference.

i could choose to shrug it off, or i could choose to just vote Lib though it really means nothing, or i could choose to vote for a random third party like the Pirate party or the Pot party (if i had the choice). Or...

... i could find someone in a riding that's neck and neck between Lib and Con, but who wants to vote Christian Heritage though there's no CH rep in their riding, and swap votes. We both win. They vote Lib in the contentious riding, increasing the chance of a Lib win there, which makes me happy because now there's one more Lib in parliament and better chance at a Con minority. i vote CH in my riding, which does nothing in practice, but increases the CH total vote count, giving them more respectability. Neither of us votes for who we want, but both of us get what we want out of the electoral process. Strategic voting.

And don't forget that as ineffectual, wishy-washy and corrupt as the Dems may be... the other guys want to do some crazy shit. In fact, the other guys are crazy. While they're making a conscious effort to appear less crazy leading up to the election, you can't forget the things they said just before the campaigns started. And even, sometimes, things that have slipped out during the campaign: like the potential VP going on TV in the debate with Biden and saying straight-up: yes, he would force his religious beliefs on other people. (Biden, by contrast, was clear that while he has strong religious beliefs - it's kind of a prerequisite for American politicians to say this - he would emphatically not enforce those beliefs on others.) You may not want Obama to have a second term... but consider the consequences of four years of Romney/Ryan.

Strategic voting also applies here. If you're left-leaning - and i suspect you are - you're probably frustrated that you live in a political climate where you have one party waaaaay the ****** off to the right (the Republicans), and the other party just slightly to the right (the Democrats). If the Republicans could be handed a thrashing - a real embarrassing defeat - they might start moving more to the left. And as they move more left, the Dems are going to have to move more left, too, just to differentiate themselves. So even if you don't like the Dems, it might make sense to vote for them just for the sake of pulling the political discourse to the left. Pull it far enough to the left, and you may conceivably end up with a situation in 4, 8 or 12 years where the Dems are actually campaigning to legalize, though you've seriously got a long way to go before that happens.

Afaceinthematrix wrote:
I think that this shows that the Federal government DOES have power over the States. Most juries would decide that extreme coercion/threats in getting a girl to have sex with you would be considered rape - even if you didn't beat her over the head with the bottle and tie her down.

i think you and i have very different definitions of what it means to have power over someone. If you have power over someone, you don't need to threaten or coerce them... you have power over them; all you need to do is tell them what you want and they'll do it.

i think we both agree that the police have the power to arrest me if i do something illegal, and even the power to use force - even deadly force - if i resist and become a danger to them while they're trying to arrest me. So far so good.

Where we part ways is here: i don't think i have the power to arrest someone i see doing something illegal, or the power to use force - possibly deadly force - if they resist. i can do it, in most cases... but that doesn't mean i have the power to do it.

For example, i can go outside and slap the cuffs on the woman who just let her dog shit in front of my house and didn't clean it up. Oh, yes i can; i have a good 50 kilos of mostly muscle on her, i'm maybe 30 or 40 years younger, and i'm strapped... yeah, i could take her. And if she resisted, i could surely beat the shit out of her - or shoot her. There's really no question of capability here: even though it will require threat and coercion, yes, i could totally arrest that woman, and there's nothing she could do to stop me.

You seem to think that just because i can do that, it means i have the power to do that. i think that's wrong. i think there's a huge difference between being able to do something, and actually having the power to do it. i would say the US does not have the power to dictate how Canada allocates funding to the provinces, and i think most sane people would agree. However, i think most sane people would also realize that while the US may not have the power to force Canada to do something... they damn well do have the ability. At the least, they could use their huge economic advantage to pressure Canada to do what they want (which they do, from time to time). At worst, they could simply do it at gunpoint (though that's extreme, the fact is that they could).

The rape example isn't particularly good, because there's never a situation where one person has the power to decide whether someone else has sex. (At least, not in any civilized society.) No one has the power to decide whether someone else will have sex with them... but as you've pointed out, many people do have the capability.

But consider the case of forcible confinement. i don't have the power to forcibly confine someone else's kids. i do have the capability - especially if i use threats or coercion - but i don't have the power. Their parents do have the power to forcibly confine them... they don't need to use threats or coercion. They say to the kids, "you're staying inside", and lo, it is so. Only if the kids resist do the parents have to step it up a notch... but the point is the kids would be wrong to resist (i'm assuming the confinement is just and we're not dealing with anything actually illegal or immoral, of course). That is power. i could say to the kids, "you're staying in my basement", but the kids would not be wrong to resist, because i don't have the power to confine them. i could force it by threat or violence, and i'd probably have to because i don't have that power over them. Their parents, however, do have that power, and while they could use threat or coercion, they shouldn't have to.

So in the case of the states and the drinking age, i say the feds do not have that power over them. The feds can tell the states to do something, and the feds can use their muscle - usually economic, but sometimes actual military force when the army or national guard is called out - to make it happen. But the feds do not actually have that power over the states. If they did, then the states would have to do what the feds asked, and if they refused, they would be in the wrong. But the states can say no, and it would not be wrong to do so. In fact, the very fact that the feds had to use threats and coercion is specifically because they don't have that power.

Afaceinthematrix wrote:
I don't think so. I see older people embracing technology more and more. Most of them even see the benefits of them. My great-grandmother is in her 90s and has gotten used to email and Facebook and she loves it. She loves the fast communication with us. I don't talk to 90% of my family but apparently my grandmother and all of her siblings (I guess my great aunts and uncles) love texting with my parents and sisters and the rest of the family.

From my experience, older people embrace technology (albeit they may be slower at it than younger people) quite well and aren't afraid of it.

You misunderstand; i'm not talking about old people embracing technology, i'm talking specifically about legislators - who are usually old people - trying to legislate technology, while not fully understanding what they're trying to control.

There's a big difference. My dad has embraced Facebook - even more so than me, actually (i don't have a Facebook account); he uses it quite a bit to connect with old friends and with other musicians. He's quite pleased with it, and, i gather, quite adept at using it.

But from time to time i've had discussions with my dad about the legal and social implications of Facebook, and about the kinds of laws and legislation that should be applied to it. In that domain... to put it bluntly, he's a ****** idiot. He's embraced the technology - he's competent at using it, he's comfortable with it, and he's even happy with it - but he doesn't grasp what it is. He doesn't understand it, in the "grok" sense - he doesn't have a deeper grasp of what Facebook it is, what role it plays on the Internet, how it connects and how it divides cyberspace, and the hidden costs of it. If it fell on his shoulders to decide on laws to pass to govern Facebook or its users... i like the guy, but he'd be miserably idiotic at the job, as most existing legislators currently are.

Perhaps i can put this in concrete terms. A few years ago, the Canadian government passed an incredibly stupid law that says that for every blank CD (this was before DVDs) you buy, you have to pay a levy to account for piracy losses. In other words, even if you're using the CD to store data you created at work (as i was at the time) and not to pirate music CDs, you are still fined for piracy. It's a stupid, unjust law, written by idiot politicians who didn't understand what data storage is really used for and who couldn't conceive of ordinary people generating enough data that they'd need to store it, and who were convinced by industry money into believing that the only thing blank CDs were really good for, by and large, was stealing music.

At the time, my father wholeheartedly supported this law. He, too, couldn't grasp how it could be possible for a person to generate enough data legally that they'd need a spindle of CDs to store it. He thought the only way a person could accumulate that much data was by stealing it, so, hey, let's fine the thieving bastards where they can't get away from the fine (because you can't avoid paying the levy if want more storage space). i tried explaining to him that he didn't understand the nature of data, and that people could very easily generate gigabytes of data - legitimately - that they shouldn't be fined for wanting to store. He didn't believe me at the time, and as a musician, he was quite hot on this idea of sticking it to the pirates that ripped off his profits. (i should note: he also pirated tons of music - this was back in the days before iTunes. This is not necessarily hypocritical; from his point of view, he was just being "caught" by the extra cost of blank CDs for being the thief he was. Which, of course, only made the idea of fining every blank CD that much more logical. In his mind, he was doing wrong, and the government caught him via the fine - fair's fair.)

Fast forward a few years, and - i vividly remember this day - he's setting up his first digital recording studio. No more reel-to-reel tape for him, everything's going direct to CD! i looked at the shelf-full of blank CDs he had to record his own music... and pointed out the irony of the fact that he was fined as a music thief... for wanting to create his own music. He stopped and blinked, and then he got it. Then he finally saw the bigger picture. And, of course, since then, he's seen it even more painfully clear, now that he generates gigabytes of audio in the studio, and gigabytes of photos and video from his digital cameras. And every time he burns his data - his data, which he created, not stole - he's paying a fine for crimes he's not committing. (And, by now, he must have burnt easily a hundred times more CDs and DVDs of his own stuff than he ever stole. Certainly, he's easily paid thousands of dollars in fine/levy for the hundreds and hundreds of CDs he's burnt.)

See what i'm getting at? It's not about embracing technology. He embraces it, usually. It's about legislating technology without fully understanding it, especially while viewing it only through scare-coloured, neo-Luddite, glasses. He, like the government, could clearly see the bad side of that technology - that it could be used for stealing music - but he hadn't opened his eyes wide enough to see the bigger picture, where all the good stuff was. Now, years later, he gets it - now he understands that he didn't see the whole picture while jumping to conclusions. But, of course, now it's too late.

Legislators in general don't understand new technology. They may embrace it - in fact, some of them are quite keen to embrace it. But sooner or later, a problem arises, as it must, eventually, when a major new technology is introduced. And then what usually happens is the legislators only see the problem, and not the bigger picture. They blame the technology, and not the other factors that led to the problem (for example, blaming blank CDs for music piracy instead of, you know, pirates... or blaming texting for distracted driving instead of, you know, driving distracted). They knee-jerk react, and slap a law on the books. And then, we end up with DMCA, C-11 and the blank media levy.

Afaceinthematrix wrote:
I think that you are misunderstanding this. As cell phones have gotten more popular, accidents involving them have gone up significantly. As the studies were coming in and showing that you're 4 times or whatever more likely to get into a car accident than if you aren't texting, reason to worry began to increase. In my area, texting while driving has become an epidemic of some sort. I can go on the road any time of the day at any day of the week and I WILL see people texting while driving. I have seen accidents happen because of texting. If all of sorts of accidents - and quite dangerous ones - are happening because of a single cause - texting - then why doesn't it make sense to ban texting while driving? Knives serve a practical purpose. I needed a knife to chop my tomatoes that I ate with my dinner. I carry a Leatherman Multi-Tool with me all the time because I constantly need to tools - including the knife - for legitimate purposes. Texting while driving serves no legitimate purpose. It only endangers other people. And since it is a huge problem, it should be handled. If people started reading the paper while driving at epidemic levels and all the studies and statistics started coming in showing the dangers, then that would need to be handled as well.

You don't see the fallacy in this?: "As cell phones have gotten more popular, accidents involving them have gone up significantly. As the studies were coming in and showing that you're 4 times or whatever more likely to get into a car accident than if you aren't texting, reason to worry began to increase."

The first sentence is pretty much a tautology. i mean... obviously, right? That's the same as saying: "As tattoos became more popular, accidents involving drivers with tattoos went up significantly." Oh, i'm sure they did. But that doesn't mean the problem is tattoos.

The second sentence is a perfect example of blaming the technology rather than the real problem. i don't doubt that you're several times more likely to get into an accident while texting than not. i also don't doubt that you're several times more likely to get into an accident while reading. Or eating. Or digging in your stuff for something you'll need when you get to your destination. Or juggling. Where are those studies?

Of course, the studies focus on the technology - texting - and not on the underlying problem. i'd bet that if studies were done on distraction - rather than pointing the finger at one specific distracting element - you'd find you're far more than 4 times likely to get into an accident while distracted. (Because, consider the numbers. Not everyone who was texting was necessarily distracted - it's quite possible to text with both hands on the wheel and the eyes up; people generally only text with eyes down and the phone in their lap because they don't want the cops to see them texting. Distraction is more specific, so, statistically, the numbers should go way up.)

If they'd ignored the red herring of technology and focused on the actual problem, they'd get more representative studies, and pass better laws. But, of course, because there was technology involved, they couldn't see past it.

(i'd also point out that your knife argument is weak. Sure knives serve a practical purpose... and cell phones don't? You say texting while driving serves no purpose; i call bullshit. Texting while driving serves the same purpose as texting while not driving - keeping you in contact with whoever or whatever you were trying to keep in contact with. Which, for some people, is their whole job, basically. A person could be coordinating multiple projects via text, while driving or while sitting on a park bench, so of course it serves a purpose. If you meant that the risks of texting while driving almost always outweigh the benefits... well, sure, i'd agree with that. But that's not the same as saying it has no benefits. The same argument for allowing people to walk around with knives: it's not like there's no benefit to it - as you point out, knives can be useful tools - but the risks of letting people walk around with exposed blades almost always outweigh the benefits. (Fold-away blades - though not switchblades - are, of course, an acceptable compromise between risk and benefit.))

Afaceinthematrix wrote:
I already agreed that that would have been the best route to go. However, legislators don't always see the full picture in time. A few years back, California banned talking on your cellphone while driving. Within a day of the law passing, it was pointed out that the law didn't include the more dangerous activity - texting. California then passed a new separate law immediately in order to fix that problem. I think the main issue is that if multiple private organizations (including cell phone providers - who don't want the bad publicity of their product causing a death) start doing these studies to find out that you're four times more likely to crash if you're texting and then they start campaigning with television ads telling you of the dangers, then it's easy to see that it is a problem and pass legislation without looking at the whole picture.

i think i might be holding legislators to a higher standard than you. ^_^; Most of these guys are supposed to be trained lawyers. The rest are supposed to be intelligent people, who you'd think would be smart enough to stop and ask: "... wait a minute... is the problem cell phones... or driving distracted?" i mean, that's not rocket science, and legislators - people whose job it is to write intelligent laws - should have the wherewithal to think of this shit before firing off a law.

Afaceinthematrix wrote:
I have an issue with seat-belt laws. I think that the driver definitely needs to wear a seat belt because if the driver flies through the windshield then who is there to operate the car until it is at a complete stop and turned off? I can also see forcing the passenger to wear it so that the passenger isn't flown into the driver. But I see no justification for forcing an idiot in the back seat to wear a seat belt. I think that should be personal choice.

The idiot in the back seat can become a projectile just as much as the driver or passenger could. In fact, there are several plausible scenarios for how it could happen. Most head-on crashes are offset - meaning you don't hit full bumper-to-bumper, but instead just the right half of your bumper hits just the right half of their bumper (or left-to-left). Now suppose you've got three people in the car - driver, passenger, and buddy in the back who is, of course, sitting in the middle of the back seat so they can talk to the driver and passenger simultaneously (in my experience, it's rare to have one person in the back seat who just sits on one side or the other (unless you're in a country with seat belt laws, in which case most people prefer the shoulder straps rather than the waist-only belt in the middle)). So, you have an offset frontal collision, and buddy in the back - in the middle of the back seat - gets launched between the two front seats, through the windscreen, through the other car's windscreen, and hits the driver of the other car square on, killing them both. Or, if it's a side-on (T-bone) collision, then depending on a number of factors, the unbelted dude could be thrown against someone else in the backseat (with or without a belt), or out either window toward the impacting car (again, hitting someone in that car) or out the other side (to fly into traffic and possibly cause a secondary accident).

Basically, seat belt laws are not about personal choice. They're about the logical conclusion that everything in a moving vehicle - particularly one travelling at highway speeds! - should be lashed down. That means cargo and people. Seriously, if you think about it, what kind of an idiot drives down the highway in a vehicle with a hundred kilos of meat sitting unsecured in the cabin, ready to go flying around in an emergency? Everything in a moving vehicle should be strapped down securely. In the event of an accident, this protects everyone in the car, and everyone else around that car from meat projectiles.

Afaceinthematrix wrote:
I don't think that the senator wanting to pass the NFL law had anything to do with player safety. I think that he was pissed about the bad call.

Furthermore, I don't agree with the potential law - even if player safety were involved. I think that the replacement refs were adequately trained to do their best to prevent injuries (even though it's mostly in the hands of the players).

Maybe, or maybe he was just trying to tap into rage for political gain. i can't speculate on his motives, i can just analyze his actions.

And maybe. It's quite possible the replacement refs are competent enough to keep the game controlled and safe. On the other hand, the bad call does call their competence into question. If they can ****** up there... are you sure they won't ****** up in something that relates to player safety?

The way health and safely laws work here is that if a worker feels a job is unsafe, and their concerns are actually legitimate, the job stops. Immediately. And it doesn't start back up again until that worker feels safe, or safety investigators rule that the concerns are unwarranted. (And laws protect the worker who was concerned from retribution from the employer.) Seems to me that that should apply here. If the players feel the game is not safe with the replacement refs, they should stop work. Perhaps that might be the way to go, if it's possible, rather than having the government step in with legislation.
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