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Source: (consider it) Thread: The social-progressive mindset
Russ
Old salt
# 120

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quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
What you call "social progressive" is the outworking of being a person of good will.

There were people of goodwill long before social progressivism came along.

So it isn't just a natural outworking of goodwill to others. It's a particular mindset - a way of thinking - which channels both the goodwill and the negative energy of a person into particular types of solutions to perceived social issues.

You're suggesting for example that agitating for political change is a more appropriate response than charitable giving. Of course, a person can do a certain extent do both. But people have limited time and energy. An hour spent on one street handing out political leaflets is an hour not spent on another street with a charity collecting box.

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Wish everyone well; the enemy is not people, the enemy is wrong ideas

Posts: 3169 | From: rural Ireland | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Russ
Old salt
# 120

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quote:
Originally posted by Eliab:
Russ, if you aren't around for me to ask whether my moral judgment on an issue is one that you agree with, how am I to distinguish a "principle" from a "sentiment"?

I'd say that if you find you want to see a particular outcome and don't much care how it happens, that's a sentiment. If you're willing to forgo your desired outcome for the sake of not achieving it by wrongful means, that's a principle.

Principles are double-edged; you know them when they bite you.

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Wish everyone well; the enemy is not people, the enemy is wrong ideas

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Dafyd
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# 5549

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quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
I'd say that if you find you want to see a particular outcome and don't much care how it happens, that's a sentiment. If you're willing to forgo your desired outcome for the sake of not achieving it by wrongful means, that's a principle.

The question you seem to be trying to prejudge is what are and are not wrongful means.

You've asserted that:
Premise A) taxation counts as wrongful means because it violates property rights.
Premise B) Violating rights does not become morally permissible when done for the public good.
To which it follows that you may not tax for any purpose even for the public good.
So far so logical.
You then assert:
Premise C) You may tax to fund police services for because it is for the public good.
Which is an outright contradiction.

Premise C has been disputed by a few starry-eyed anarchist idealists on both the left and the right. But for the rest of us it's indisputable until some time as someone proposes a workable alternative.
Premise B is I think logically and morally unassailable.
It follows that your premise A is false. Taxation does not violate rights and therefore does not count as wrongful means.

I shall note that further on your account morality being a matter of rights is all or nothing. It can't be permissible to breach a right only a little bit. It follows that on your professed principles if it is permissible to tax a little bit to fund the police services it is equally permissible on your professed principles to tax until the pips squeak.

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we remain, thanks to original sin, much in love with talking about, rather than with, one another. Rowan Williams

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Dafyd
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# 5549

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quote:
Originally posted by Kwesi:
Social-progressive approaches towards poverty have their roots in attitudes towards the economic crises of the inter-period (1918-1939) and post-war reconstruction.

I think the social-progressive label covers a broad and indeed schismatic church. Anyone from a leftwing neo-liberal to a Trotskyist could count as a social-progressive.
Someone like Paul Krugman I think would count as a social-progressive despite having reservations about the Keynesian approach. Marxists would reject Keynesianism as just another form of capitalism.

Incidentally I think you're playing down the degree to which neoliberal economics has overridden the Keynesian New Deal consensus.

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we remain, thanks to original sin, much in love with talking about, rather than with, one another. Rowan Williams

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Kwesi
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quote:
Kwesi: Until someone comes up with something better this mind-set is here to stay.

Dafyd: Incidentally I think you're playing down the degree to which neoliberal economics has overridden the Keynesian New Deal consensus.

Dafyd, I mostly agree with your observations on the narrow scope of my approach and the tone of polemical complacency in my concluding sentence.

I deliberately avoided the Marxist versions of social progressivism, which offer an alternative paradigm that thus far has demonstrably failed. I think your reference to the neo-Liberal critique of Keynesianism, a version of classical economics (I think), is valid, because it offers a conservative alternative to the social-progressive mindset, and was reflected in the Osbornomics in the UK, 2010-2015+. Even so, in the major capitalist crisis of 2008 the Keynesian approach of not allowing the banks to go the the wall and the printing of money (quantitative easing) prevailed over more hairy neo-liberal solutions.

I must confess to having been frustrated by Russ’ reluctance to offer us a coherent framework within which to critically discuss social-progressivism. Your observations, Dafyd, have clarified for me, at least, that the most relevant dialectic is between the Keynesian model and its variants and neo-liberalism.

There is, of course, an area of social progressivism which is outside the economic parameters: the politics of identity, ethnic and gender/sex, which do not sit easily within the economic debate, and have done much to compromise it. It is of concern that the politics of ethnic identity have come to threaten the electoral coalition behind the Keynesian economic model: the rise of nationalism, ethnic identity, racism, Brexit, and Trumpism. Now is the time for all good men (and women) to come to the aid of the cause!

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Russ
Old salt
# 120

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quote:
Originally posted by Kwesi:
There is, of course, an area of social progressivism which is outside the economic parameters: the politics of identity, ethnic and gender/sex, which do not sit easily within the economic debate, and have done much to compromise it.

My starting point was the observation of an emerging-as-dominant mindset on the Ship. A cluster of attitudes that are to do with the politics of acial and sexual identity. One of my questions was whether "social progressive" was an appropriate name for that mindset or whether there is a better name. Hard to talk about something without being able to name it...

I'd tend to agree that there's no necessary connection between that mindset and any particular economic theory. Keynesianism existed before the 1960s feminist movement, which is as I see it one of the roots of the mindset.

--------------------
Wish everyone well; the enemy is not people, the enemy is wrong ideas

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Kwesi
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# 10274

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quote:
Russ: My starting point was the observation of an emerging-as-dominant mindset on the Ship. A cluster of attitudes that are to do with the politics of [r]acial and sexual identity.
A quick observation: being opposed to racism and wanting to give females a decent shake should not be regarded as the peculiarities of an eccentric "progressive mindset" but a social norm. Rather it is racism and misogyny that should be regarded as deviant, the products of a "reactionary mindset".
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Russ
Old salt
# 120

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quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:

You've asserted that:
Premise A) taxation counts as wrongful means because it violates property rights...
...further on your account morality being a matter of rights is all or nothing. It can't be permissible to breach a right only a little bit.

Neither of us believes that all taxation is theft (or plunder).

Neither of us believes that the State is above morality and can do whatever it chooses.

The question is where to draw the line between morally legitimate and morally illegitimate plundering of people's stuff.

You've suggested, if I read you right, that the criterion is arbitrariness. It seems your rejection of the Nazi state's right to exterminate Jews rests on the selection of Jews being arbitrary. That argument doesn't work for me; I see the Nazis as having reasons - a rationale. But not good enough reasons. I recognise the right to life of every single individual Jewish person unless that individual has forfeited that right (by an act of murder for example).

Seems to me that the essence of theft is taking without consent. And so the issue is around the extent to which an individual can reasonably live in a society and benefit from particular government services while not consenting to pay a fair share of the cost of those programs.

We don't choose the society we're born into. There's no open frontier which at the age of majority we can choose to go to as an alternative to accepting the warts-and-all conventions of our society.

So I'd argue there's both an element of consent and an element of duress in being part of any society. It's not all-or-nothing, there are shades of grey.

Having a collectively-provided and collectively-funded criminal justice system with a police force as part of it seems pretty inescapable.

A tax whose aim is entirely redistributive in favour of government supporters seems like the opposite end of the scale.

Gotta go...

--------------------
Wish everyone well; the enemy is not people, the enemy is wrong ideas

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Dafyd
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# 5549

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quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:

You've asserted that:
Premise A) taxation counts as wrongful means because it violates property rights...
...further on your account morality being a matter of rights is all or nothing. It can't be permissible to breach a right only a little bit.

Neither of us believes that all taxation is theft (or plunder).
The question I'm putting to you is whether or not this is compatible with believing that any taxation is theft.
You have said that the difference between imposing your sentiments on people who feel differently (wrong) and imposing your principles (right) is the means used. Let's assume that this isn't a mere tautology.
The means used by a government taxing to fund a criminal justice system and the means used by a government taxing to fund a national health service or other form of redistribution are exactly the same. If the means in one case are wrongful, then they are wrongful in the other.

The question is where to draw the line between morally legitimate and morally illegitimate plundering of people's stuff.

quote:
You've suggested, if I read you right, that the criterion is arbitrariness. It seems your rejection of the Nazi state's right to exterminate Jews rests on the selection of Jews being arbitrary. That argument doesn't work for me; I see the Nazis as having reasons - a rationale. But not good enough reasons. I recognise the right to life of every single individual Jewish person unless that individual has forfeited that right (by an act of murder for example).
Although I did note that I think genocide on the grounds of race is arbitrary, what I said was:
quote:
There are reasons to think that killing is wrong regardless of who is doing it and what the circumstances. The value of life needs no justification. The value of absolute property rights does need justification.
quote:
Seems to me that the essence of theft is taking without consent. And so the issue is around the extent to which an individual can reasonably live in a society and benefit from particular government services while not consenting to pay a fair share of the cost of those programs.
As you note the application of the term of consent to acts of government is somewhat looser than would be allowed under most contract or criminal laws.
You have been up until now arguing as if on the premise that there is a clear dividing line between principle (moral and right) and sentiment (invalid and wrong) and we would all know where the dividing line is if not misled by sentiment.
Now you're saying that it's "not all-or-nothing, there are shades of grey".

quote:
Having a collectively-provided and collectively-funded criminal justice system with a police force as part of it seems pretty inescapable.

A tax whose aim is entirely redistributive in favour of government supporters seems like the opposite end of the scale.

It depends on what you mean by 'in favour of government supporters'.
If the policy picks out just those people who support the government regardless of any other considerations in favour of redistribution then yes that's amoral.
If the policy is redistributive under some other justification then that the beneficiaries support the government is not in a democracy an argument against it.

If people prefer being in group one to being in group two given the chance and after redistribution from group one to group two they still would prefer being in group one then it is hard to think any objectionable unfairness has been committed.


[Fixed minor coding error]

[ 18. December 2017, 21:34: Message edited by: Eliab ]

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we remain, thanks to original sin, much in love with talking about, rather than with, one another. Rowan Williams

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Kwesi
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# 10274

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I think this conversation is going round and round in circles. There are clearly differences of opinion regarding the moral rights of governments to legislate in certain areas and different attitudes towards taxation policies. Given these differences of normative views, what is being proposed we do about it, Russ (especially)?
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Marvin the Martian

Interplanetary
# 4360

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quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
Seems to me that the essence of theft is taking without consent. And so the issue is around the extent to which an individual can reasonably live in a society and benefit from particular government services while not consenting to pay a fair share of the cost of those programs.

Consent is given through the ballot box. Everyone is free to vote for a No Taxation Party if they want, and if they win the election there won't be any taxation.

In countries where the government is not decided by free and fair elections then the people's consent to taxation (as well as to all other government policies) is less clear, and the taxation may indeed be immoral. However, none of us in this conversation lives in such a country.

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Hail Gallaxhar

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Russ
Old salt
# 120

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quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
Seems to me that the essence of theft is taking without consent. And so the issue is around the extent to which an individual can reasonably live in a society and benefit from particular government services while not consenting to pay a fair share of the cost of those programs.

Consent is given through the ballot box. Everyone is free to vote for a No Taxation Party if they want, and if they win the election there won't be any taxation.

In countries where the government is not decided by free and fair elections then the people's consent to taxation (as well as to all other government policies) is less clear, and the taxation may indeed be immoral. However, none of us in this conversation lives in such a country.

So do you put no limits at all on what a democratically-elected government may do ? After all, the Jews could have voted against Hitler...

More prosaically, does a government have consent from the people for everything in their manifesto ? And things they decide to do afterwards that weren't in the manifesto ?

--------------------
Wish everyone well; the enemy is not people, the enemy is wrong ideas

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Russ
Old salt
# 120

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quote:
Originally posted by Kwesi:
Do you mean it to read... ..“A legal system doesn’t exist for the purpose of imposing your sentiments on those who feel differently.” Are you making a normative statement “a legal system ought/ought not to….”

For clarity, Yes to the edited version above.

quote:
Originally posted by Kwesi:
I don’t think a “duty to act morally” is an “intermediate position”between anarchy and totalitarianism.

I'm suggesting that most of us have a sense that it is in some way morally wrong to coerce others, to do unto them that to which they do not consent, by force or the threat of force.

And that anarchism absolutises this principle, and concludes that government should be replaced by a system of voluntary transactions. While the opposite is totalitarianism, which gives the State - as the legitimate authority - a free pass to coerce as it pleases.

Taxation is coercive. And government as we know it could not exist without tax.

So it seems to me that anyone who rejects both of these extremes believes in some middle ground - a State which has a limited moral right to coerce - to tax and regulate the behaviour of the citizenry - up to a point that is sufficient so as to carry out its functions, while respecting the moral rights of citizens otherwise.

I use "moral right" to distinguish from "legal right"; clearly the State can give itself legal rights.

quote:
Originally posted by Kwesi:
Russ, are you saying that no government, even the most democratically constituted with processes subject to the rule of law, has a right to pass legislation in contravention of an individual’s “natural rights” or the dictates of “natural law”? In other words are you seeking to uphold the ideas of John Locke. If so, how does that relate to your argument?

Yes; I look to considerations of natural law as a basis for identifying what these "moral rights" might be.

Why did we get into all that ?

We're struggling to talk about what social progressivism is, seemingly because those who hold s-p views don't conceptualize those views as a set of doctrines that can be debated, but more as a natural obviously-right outworking of goodwill to one's fellow man.

I'm suggesting that one of the features of social progressivism is that it identifies a desired outcome - racial equality, a flat income distribution, a gender balance in parliament that reflects the general population. And then because that outcome is seen as good, the measures that are necessary to achieve it are justified.

Is it fair to characterise it as an ends-justify-means worldview ? As totalitarian ?

Which I contrast with a view of right conduct (by both individuals and the State) as being about respecting the natural rights of others. So that if we all refrain from doing unto others those things that we know are wrong - don't steal, don't cheat, don't assault, don't coerce - then there's a space of possible outcomes within which individuals are free to pursue whichever outcome seems to them to be good. A worldview - would you call it liberal ? - in which means are right or wrong and ends are for individuals to pursue by rightful means.

quote:
Originally posted by Kwesi:
I would would also like some clarification of where “sentiment” fits into your framework. Is it “moral sentiment” or some sort of emotional spasm that gets in the way of enforcing morality? Or what?

"Sentiment" is a way of describes a desire for an outcome. When Karl says
quote:

a person who works 40 hours should make enough money from so doing to put food on the table and a roof over his head

he's stating an outcome that he desires to see. I don't think he's saying that when Moses came down the mountain he left behind an 11th tablet of stone commanding a minimum wage calculated on the basis of a 40-hour working week.

I cannot tell how far Karl's willingness to coerce others in pursuit of this outcome is a result of heart overriding head, and how far it is a logical result of a different view of natural law from mine.

It's a good end to pursue. I'd vote for my tithe being spent on a benefit system that guarantees decent food and shelter to everyone in exchange for 40 hours of work a week. But that's only a sentiment...

--------------------
Wish everyone well; the enemy is not people, the enemy is wrong ideas

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Eliab
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# 9153

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quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
"Sentiment" is a way of describes a desire for an outcome. When Karl says
quote:

a person who works 40 hours should make enough money from so doing to put food on the table and a roof over his head

he's stating an outcome that he desires to see. I don't think he's saying that when Moses came down the mountain he left behind an 11th tablet of stone commanding a minimum wage calculated on the basis of a 40-hour working week.
No, I don't think you're right at all. I have no idea what sentiments Karl has about how much work he thinks appropriate, or what standards of living he'd like people to enjoy. I'd guess, though, that his sentiments would cause him to endorse rather less than 40 hours a week, and rather more than basic subsidence, as outcomes he'd like to see.

I think Karl's position is more likely to be based on a principle - namely "People should not be exploited". The answer to the question "What is exploitation?" being something like "Working conditions that - absent some special circumstances or national emergency - no rational person would choose without coercion or desperation can be presumed to be exploitative". Then, in answer to the question "What would no rational person choose?" Karl considers that no rational person would choose to do what their society regards as a full time job, for less that what their society regards as subsistence - because the purpose of work is to sustain life to at least a minimum standard, and prima facie no rational actor would choose work which failed to achieve that primary purpose, if given meaningful alternative choice. A 40 hour week is not being presented as some natural or divine law - it's given (I think, obviously) because in the UK today, everyone thinks that a person working 8 hours a day, five days a week, is employed "full time".

So while the working-out of the argument is based in part on a particular set of social conditions, the basis of it seems to me to be principled - obviously so, in fact, since it's entirely possible to see what the reasoning is likely to be.

What I think is odd is that you seem to want to define reasoning like this as "progressive", when it's so clearly mainstream, and most self-identifying conservatives (who generally say that individual work should be rewarded) would agree with it, or identify "progressive" by your definition as being opposed to Christianity, when it seems to me that Karl could say this sort of thing from practically any pulpit in the English-speaking world and have it received as utterly uncontroversial.

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"Perhaps there is poetic beauty in the abstract ideas of justice or fairness, but I doubt if many lawyers are moved by it"

Richard Dawkins

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Dafyd
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# 5549

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quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
So it seems to me that anyone who rejects both of these extremes believes in some middle ground - a State which has a limited moral right to coerce - to tax and regulate the behaviour of the citizenry - up to a point that is sufficient so as to carry out its functions, while respecting the moral rights of citizens otherwise.

So such a state of affairs would be an outcome that we desire to see. Therefore, in your jargon, a sentiment.
And you think the state ought to be able to use force up to a certain point to coerce people in pursuit of this outcome.
In your jargon, I believe the injunction against coercion is a principle? So you're prepared to override that principle in order to pursue your favoured outcome.
And because you consider that common sense you ignore or don't realise that's what you're advocating.
quote:
We're struggling to talk about what social progressivism is, seemingly because those who hold s-p views don't conceptualize those views as a set of doctrines that can be debated, but more as a natural obviously-right outworking of goodwill to one's fellow man.
As I've said before, social-progressivists are a motley group of people. A Marxist has doctrines that can be debated. A Christian social democrat has a different set of doctrines that can be debated. A third person may indeed be an agnostic who just has the principles and ideals that he has been brought up with without ever having thought them through and which he therefore takes to be common sense. All three can be described as social-progressives, because that terms just describes a broad political area in which someone ends up.

quote:
I'm suggesting that one of the features of social progressivism is that it identifies a desired outcome - racial equality, a flat income distribution, a gender balance in parliament that reflects the general population. And then because that outcome is seen as good, the measures that are necessary to achieve it are justified.
I'm suggesting to you that this is merely your perjorative characterisation. That it describes your position equally well.

quote:
Is it fair to characterise it as an ends-justify-means worldview ? As totalitarian ?
Er... no.

quote:
"Sentiment" is a way of describes a desire for an outcome.
When Karl says
quote:

a person who works 40 hours should make enough money from so doing to put food on the table and a roof over his head

he's stating an outcome that he desires to see. I don't think he's saying that when Moses came down the mountain he left behind an 11th tablet of stone commanding a minimum wage calculated on the basis of a 40-hour working week.
It seems to me that the principle that people who work full time should earn a livelihood by so doing is rather closer to your second option than the first. To the degree that your failure to think looks wilful and self-serving.

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we remain, thanks to original sin, much in love with talking about, rather than with, one another. Rowan Williams

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Marvin the Martian

Interplanetary
# 4360

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quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
So do you put no limits at all on what a democratically-elected government may do ? After all, the Jews could have voted against Hitler...

I'm sorry, the combination of "democratically elected" and "Hitler" has just destroyed any credibility your position may have had.

quote:
More prosaically, does a government have consent from the people for everything in their manifesto ? And things they decide to do afterwards that weren't in the manifesto ?
Yes, if you also bear in mind that in a democratic nation they will need to remain popular enough to be re-elected next time. That need for continued popularity is as much a check on what the government can do as the need to be elected in the first place.

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Hail Gallaxhar

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Marvin the Martian

Interplanetary
# 4360

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quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
So that if we all refrain from doing unto others those things that we know are wrong - don't steal, don't cheat, don't assault, don't coerce...

...don't discriminate against based on race, sex, gender, belief, disability or sexuality?

Would you be prepared to add that extra item to your otherwise reasonable list? If not, why not?

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Hail Gallaxhar

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Dafyd
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# 5549

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quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
Which I contrast with a view of right conduct (by both individuals and the State) as being about respecting the natural rights of others. So that if we all refrain from doing unto others those things that we know are wrong - don't steal, don't cheat, don't assault, don't coerce - then there's a space of possible outcomes within which individuals are free to pursue whichever outcome seems to them to be good. A worldview - would you call it liberal ? - in which means are right or wrong and ends are for individuals to pursue by rightful means.

A few more thoughts on this.
There are social-progressives who think like this. John Rawls would be the clearest example. The difference would be that they allow for duties to assist other people in need, and they also think property rights are not absolute. (Russ thinks property rights are absolute but rights can be overridden if there's a good reason to override them. I think Rawls' attitude is less dangerous.) Rawls has a way of deriving what the principles of justice are. (Namely they are the principles that everyone would agree to if they didn't know their economic status or value system. Rawls thinks that if people didn't know their economic status they'd vote to make the safety net as strong as possible.) Russ doesn't seem to have any principled way of deriving his principles other than his own intuitions/sentiments.

This leads into a second point. The picture Russ paints of the human being is someone who has a set of amoral sentiments (some of which are overtly self-interest and some of which may look less overtly self-interested, but are nevertheless still sentiments). And that they then agree to be constrained by Moral rules. (I'm going to capitalise what Russ calls Morality to distinguish it from morality in the general sense.) On Russ' account, Morality is an entirely separate system from sentiment. The point here is that there is no reason why someone whose sentiments are all amoral should care about Morality and indeed no way that even if they did care they could work out any rules of Morality from such a starting point. A system of conduct that someone cannot care about nor know about is a myth.

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we remain, thanks to original sin, much in love with talking about, rather than with, one another. Rowan Williams

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Russ
Old salt
# 120

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quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
...don't discriminate against based on race, sex, gender, belief, disability or sexuality?

Would you be prepared to add that extra item to your otherwise reasonable list? If not, why not?

In response-oriented mode, I'll answer, but you'd have to tell me what you mean by "discriminate"; it doesn't seem to me well-defined.

Just as an example, I understand that a Catholic cannot succeed to the throne of England. Is that discrimination ? If the Pope was a head of state and the role of the monarch of England included upholding the interests of England in negotiations with other nations and Catholics believed in submission to the Pope, then I can see there could conceivably have been some validity in such a rule...

Seems to me that "discriminate" is a broad term that covers both wrongful and non-wrongful acts.

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Wish everyone well; the enemy is not people, the enemy is wrong ideas

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Russ
Old salt
# 120

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quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:

The means used by a government taxing to fund a criminal justice system and the means used by a government taxing to fund a national health service or other form of redistribution are exactly the same.

A national health service is a common good from which everyone benefits. Redistribution means taking from some to give to others, and that's not a common good.

quote:
If people prefer being in group one to being in group two given the chance and after redistribution from group one to group two they still would prefer being in group one then it is hard to think any objectionable unfairness has been committed.
Seriously ? If I hack into your bank accounts and transfer all your funds to poor people in the 3rd World then I've done no wrong because you're still better off than they are ?

I wouldn't do it; it would be a breach of your rights. It would not respect you as a person who is capable of making your own decisions and managing your own affairs. It would be a wrongful act that would damage the relationship between us.
[/QB][/QUOTE]

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Russ
Old salt
# 120

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quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
The point here is that there is no reason why someone whose sentiments are all amoral should care about Morality and indeed no way that even if they did care they could work out any rules of Morality from such a starting point. A system of conduct that someone cannot care about nor know about is a myth.

You were saying earlier that the value of life needs no justification. Does that not imply that someone whose sentiments are all amoral is both bound by the moral injunction against murder and capable of knowing it ? Whether they care is beside the point. The injunction doesn't depend on them feeling it.

Isn't the underlying point here that some left-leaning people like to pretend that their political aims are moral imperatives ?

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Karl: Liberal Backslider
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# 76

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We're not pretending. We think they really are.

In Nottingham in 1831 the life expectancy of the poor was around 15 years. Children were set to work in factories as young as 9 and lasted on average 18 months before beong killed or maimed or dying anyway. Changing that was seen as a moral objective, to be achieved politically. Then, as now, there was a Russ, Duke of Newcastle. They burnt his castle down in a riot.

Make of it what you will

[ 19. December 2017, 22:49: Message edited by: Karl: Liberal Backslider ]

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Carex
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# 9643

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quote:
Originally posted by Russ:


Isn't the underlying point here that some left-leaning people like to pretend that their political aims are moral imperatives ?

In my experience, it is more often the socially-regressive right wing that pretends such things.
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Kwesi
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# 10274

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quote:
Russ: A national health service is a common good from which everyone benefits. Redistribution means taking from some to give to others, and that's not a common good.

What about a national health service paid for by progressive taxation? What about a national education system paid for by progressive taxation? What about a transport infrastructure paid for by progressive taxation? What about a..............paid for by progressive taxation?

Is not the principle behind many public services that the benefits are equal but that financial contributions towards their provision are a greater burden on the better off? Public services financed in this way, as is mostly the case, are a form of redistribution.

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Golden Key
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# 1468

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quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
Isn't the underlying point here that some left-leaning people like to pretend that their political aims are moral imperatives ?

Sometimes, a person's politics really are an attempt to make their moral imperatives happen. They might happen to be mistaken about them. I think that can be true at every point on the political spectrum. People really can be trying to make the world a better, fairer place, be they right, left, extremists, or even terrorists. (Anon. saying: "One person's terrorist is another person's freedom fighter.")

Their method may be another matter.

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Karl: Liberal Backslider
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# 76

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NHS is entirely redistributive. The contributions, set on the basis of ability to pay, not degree of need, of the many pay for the medical costs of the not quite so many, based on need, not ability to pay. Inevitably richer people on average pay in more than they get out, poorer people less. Especially given the links between poverty and any number of health issues. It is exactly as it should be, but it is clearly a Rpbin Hood arrangement.

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Doc Tor
Deepest Red
# 9748

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News just in: progressive taxation helps rich people hang on to their hoard of stuff without periodic revolutions featuring the forcible redistribution of their accumulated wealth to the poor and their brains against the wall.

More on this story as it develops over the previous two millennia.

[ 20. December 2017, 09:36: Message edited by: Doc Tor ]

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Dafyd
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# 5549

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quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:

The means used by a government taxing to fund a criminal justice system and the means used by a government taxing to fund a national health service or other form of redistribution are exactly the same.

A national health service is a common good from which everyone benefits. Redistribution means taking from some to give to others, and that's not a common good.
There's evidence that a more equal society is less stressful for everyone in the society regardless of one's wealth level, and therefore a more equal society is a good. Also people on lower incomes spend more of their money which drives more economic production, again a common good.
On a different level, I think that looking at the society to which one belongs and being able to say that it is just and that one can be proud of it is a common good.

However, let's grant the premise: I don't think you can draw a hard and fast line. If you have a universal basic income that's a common good, presumably, whereas just paying welfare benefits to people out of work or whose work doesn't support them is just giving money to those people. But if a universal basic income is at a workable level then it will be more redistributive since the taxation to fund it will be higher.
Likewise, a national health service requires more tax to pay for it than a subsidy for people below a certain income threshold. So it's more redistributive.

quote:
quote:
If people prefer being in group one to being in group two given the chance and after redistribution from group one to group two they still would prefer being in group one then it is hard to think any objectionable unfairness has been committed.
Seriously ? If I hack into your bank accounts and transfer all your funds to poor people in the 3rd World then I've done no wrong because you're still better off than they are ?

I wouldn't do it; it would be a breach of your rights. It would not respect you as a person who is capable of making your own decisions and managing your own affairs. It would be a wrongful act that would damage the relationship between us.

I would think that if your employer paid you less than you needed to feed and shelter yourself that would damage the relationship between you and your employer.
I wouldn't have any grounds to complain that I was being treated unfairly with respect to the donee. I might have other grounds to complain, for instance, that I was being treated unfairly with respect to other people more wealthy than I who weren't hacked into (fairness with respect to third parties). Or that I was then unable to plan my finances. Or as you say on the grounds of consent. That the hacker is high-handed and not subject to scrutiny of their actions and decisions.
None of those apply in the case of a proper tax system by a democratically elected government. A democratic government rules by consent; its actions and decisions are open to public debate. Its actions are announced beforehand. It taxes proportional to wealth or economic activity so I would be treated fairly with respect to third parties.

You think the government is morally justified in taxing to pay for the police. Do you think a private party would be morally justified in taking your money without your consent to protect you from criminals? I think not; there's a name for that racket. So you are committed to the idea that governments are permitted actions that private parties are not.

quote:
You were saying earlier that the value of life needs no justification. Does that not imply that someone whose sentiments are all amoral is both bound by the moral injunction against murder and capable of knowing it ? Whether they care is beside the point. The injunction doesn't depend on them feeling it.
My point is that I simply don't recognise your description of human motivation as divided between sentiments and injunctions.
Recognising the value of human life doesn't fit neatly into your distinction between sentiments and injunctions.
By the way, you defined a sentiment as an end that someone tries to achieve, rather than as something they care about.

quote:
Isn't the underlying point here that some left-leaning people like to pretend that their political aims are moral imperatives ?
They are moral imperatives (in my opinion, obviously).
You think your political aims (getting rid of redistribution, preserving property rights) are moral imperatives, don't you?

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we remain, thanks to original sin, much in love with talking about, rather than with, one another. Rowan Williams

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Kwesi
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# 10274

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quote:
Doc Tor: News just in: progressive taxation helps rich people hang on to their hoard of stuff without periodic revolutions featuring the forcible redistribution of their accumulated wealth to the poor and their brains against the wall.
Thanks, Doc, for raising a most pertinent observation that smart elites recognise that for things to remain the same the more things have to change, with the consequence that social progressivism in a non-revolutionary context is about maintaining the fundamentals of the status quo.

The question, however, is what is the evidence that bloody revolutions which replace existing ruling elites by physical elimination have produced a better life for the generality of the population. Did the blood-drenched French Revolution make life better for the French more than, say, the somewhat conservative progress of the United Kingdom delayed until the 1830s and 1840s? What great benefits did the slaughter of the Russian aristocracy and their replacement by Stalinism bring to the workers and peasants of the Soviet Union? How did Cambodia benefit from the murderous policies of Pol Pot? What are we to conclude from a comparison between North and South Korea? Perhaps a better case can be made for developments in China, though the monumental sufferings of the Chinese people during the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution must be weighed in the balance, together with the oppression of intellectual freedom symbolised in recent times by the Tiananmen Square massacre.

My view, for whatever its subjective worth, is that social progressivism as a feature of development within an established order has proved more beneficial to a wider section of the community than revolutionary alternatives. Amongst the reasons it has proved superior is that it has better preserved the rule of law, produced a more pragmatic and critically tested approach to change, has been more open to conflicting points of view, and has not been beholden to revolutionaries who have regarded their right to rule as a permanent entitlement.

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mr cheesy
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# 3330

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I'm bored, so I have been reflecting on this. It seems to me that capitalists don't actually know what is good for them when they moan about taxes being theft.

I'm sitting in a city looking at the Christmas decorations in a shopping centre. Strictly speaking, I suppose, a shopkeeper could complain about the cost of the decorations. But, presumably, if the decorations are doing their job, then people are being attracted to the shopping centre to buy stuff. You might as well complain about the cost of providing a carpark - or any other cost to your business that isn't absolutely necessary. Like advertising.

The social contract is like this. It isn't an absolute necessity for rich people to pay for other people's healthcare. But in a roundabout way, those people are the people who are buying your shit. So if they die, that's going to affect your business. Sure, there are billions of other, less demanding and poorer people out there in the world - but the vast majority of capitalists operating in wealthier countries are not trying to service those customers.

If you want a healthy market to sell to, you've pretty much got to pay the taxes so that those within it are able to stay healthy enough to keep your bottom line in the black. You might not like paying taxes that go to pay for roads, but if they're not there then you can't move yourself, your staff or your crap around - and then you'd likely not have a business at all. Take yourself off to India and see how well you get on there.

One can even make the argument that paying staff enough that they're happy to do your crappy job has long-term sustainability impacts on most businesses. Sure we live in times where there is a "gig economy" and where the attitude is about cut-throat competition and driving the costs of labour down. But somewhere along the line, this won't last. It can't last.

The ironic thing about this thread is that those who should be the strongest advocates of the social-progressive mindset are the capitalists who benefit most from it and who recognise that avoiding tax is cutting their own throat.

The lefties you should be worried about, Russ, are not those asking you to pay a social price for living in a place where you can make a living from your capital investments, but those who believe it is totally wrong that these inequalities exist in the first place. And whose vision for an economic future doesn't include arsewipes who think they can barter with the state for profits that they "deserve" whilst their neighbour suffers.

Merry Christmas all you capitalist pigs. Your time is running out.

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Brenda Clough
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# 18061

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It's also worth contemplating our own history. Why did FDR push through a social safety net during the Depression? Why, in the 19th century, did the British government extend the franchise to poorer men? (Women were not a possibility.)
It wasn't because of their love of their fellow man or their Christian charity. Not at all! It was because they looked at France (in the case of the Brits) or Russia (FDR and the Americans) and realized that if the laboring classes weren't given a bigger slice of the pie, they might rise up and seize it. When the fat cats contemplate bloody revolution and the hanging of aristos from the lamp posts, then suddenly their feelings change. There are always going to be more poor people than rich people; the elites have to ride that tiger.

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quetzalcoatl
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# 16740

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Another conduit for revolutionary energy is supposed to be religion - enthusiasm, and chiliastic fervour. But this also acts as a dampener.

I've no idea if this is correct, and I don't know how one would establish a link.

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mousethief

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# 953

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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
I'm sitting in a city looking at the Christmas decorations in a shopping centre. Strictly speaking, I suppose, a shopkeeper could complain about the cost of the decorations. But, presumably, if the decorations are doing their job, then people are being attracted to the shopping centre to buy stuff. You might as well complain about the cost of providing a carpark - or any other cost to your business that isn't absolutely necessary. Like advertising.

The social contract is like this. It isn't an absolute necessity for rich people to pay for other people's healthcare. But in a roundabout way, those people are the people who are buying your shit. So if they die, that's going to affect your business. Sure, there are billions of other, less demanding and poorer people out there in the world - but the vast majority of capitalists operating in wealthier countries are not trying to service those customers.

If you want a healthy market to sell to, you've pretty much got to pay the taxes so that those within it are able to stay healthy enough to keep your bottom line in the black. You might not like paying taxes that go to pay for roads, but if they're not there then you can't move yourself, your staff or your crap around - and then you'd likely not have a business at all. Take yourself off to India and see how well you get on there.

But this whole argument presupposes that one accept demand-side economics. Dyed-in-the-wool Neoliberals do not accept demand-side economics. They seem to believe -- contrary to all historical evidence -- that all that is required for a healthy economy is rich people, and are prepared to suffer the existence of everybody else only at the least possible short-term (note short-term, that's the lynchpin) cost to themselves.

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Karl: Liberal Backslider
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# 76

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They need poor people though. Only poor people are willing to work for next to fuck all.

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Kwesi
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# 10274

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quote:
quezalcoat : Another conduit for revolutionary energy is supposed to be religion - enthusiasm, and chiliastic fervour. But this also acts as a dampener.
I've no idea if this is correct, and I don't know how one would establish a link.

It’s very difficult isn’t it to establish a general causal relationship between religion and political action or inaction? I think the only way one can do this is on a case by case basis. At the present time the phenomenon of religious fundamentalism has been mobilised to great political affect: Christianity in the United States, Islam in the Middle East and elsewhere, Hinduism in India and so on, where traditional conservative social forces biased towards quietism and acceptance have become radicalised for all sorts of purposes, giving added impetus to inchoate social objectives by sanctifying them. One can speculate as to why that has been the case. Historically, the English might go back to John Ball, who was an important influence on the Peasants’ Revolt of 1381, “When Adam delved and Eve span, who was then the gentleman?” ; or one might consider the religio-political complexity of the Reformation and the Thirty Years War etc.etc..
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Karl: Liberal Backslider
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# 76

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Leon Rosselson certainly thinks it hinders it. Stand up, stand up for Judas makes the point particularly forcefully.

Anyone whining he's misunderstood Jesus - it's because that's how the church has portrayed him so often, the lackey of the powerful and rich.

[ 22. December 2017, 12:41: Message edited by: Karl: Liberal Backslider ]

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quetzalcoatl
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# 16740

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I suppose it was a left-wing truism that religion siphoned off the energy of the masses, and prevented revolution. Hence Wesley is often cited as preventing the English revolution - but again, it's a tough job to make that connection more than a guess. I think in fact quite a lot of historians dismiss the idea, e.g. John Kent, 'Wesley and the Wesleyans'.

In relation to other countries there is the same problem about guessing. Marxists have often asserted it, but did they have any evidence? I suppose they could show that religions often opposed revolution, as in Russia, but there were revolutionary priests. The 1905 uprising was led by one, (Gapon), although some claimed he was a police informer!

At the same time, there were those interesting individuals who argued for a kind of revolutionary religion - the most well known Soviet version is Lunacharsky. I think Gorky sympathized. Lenin was not amused.

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Russ
Old salt
# 120

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quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
There's evidence that a more equal society is less stressful for everyone in the society regardless of one's wealth level, and therefore a more equal society is a good.

If you feel that way then it's a good for you. If I feel differently then it may not be a good for me. I may be one of those people who buys lottery tickets that make one person a lot richer and a lot of people a little poorer. Because it's good to dream. I may prefer a city with hovels and palaces to a city of terraced suburbia.

[/qb][/quote]Also people on lower incomes spend more of their money which drives more economic production, again a common good.[/qb][/quote]

I don't believe that saving is inherently bad. There may be particular economic circumstances where it's better if more spending and less saving happens, but I don't see how it can be a universal truth. Traditionally saving for a rainy day is associated with the virtue of prudence.

quote:
On a different level, I think that looking at the society to which one belongs and being able to say that it is just and that one can be proud of it is a common good.
That's an argument for vanity projects.

If you feel pleasure that your society reflects your values of order or freedom or uniformity or diversity then that's a private good for you and for those who share your views.

Are you perhaps confusing your feelings with objective reality ?

quote:
If you have a universal basic income that's a common good, presumably, whereas just paying welfare benefits to people out of work or whose work doesn't support them is just giving money to those people. But if a universal basic income is at a workable level then it will be more redistributive since the taxation to fund it will be higher.
Likewise, a national health service requires more tax to pay for it than a subsidy for people below a certain income threshold. So it's more redistributive.

That may well be true.

If there's an NHS or a UBI (or any other TLA) that you benefit from, then it seems to me that there's a moral obligation to pay a fair share of the cost, which justifies the government in levying a charge on you for that purpose.

The element of coercion lies in not allowing people to opt out, to make their own private arrangements instead. The moral issue is not in taxing members of the scheme, it's in forcing people to be members.

The practical impossibility of opting out of the criminal justice system is a reason for not considering this an issue in the case of funding the police.

I'm not judging by how redistributive a system is or isn't. I'm arguing that that's the wrong approach, that it is the means used for a political end that may be right or wrong.

quote:
quote:
If I hack into your bank accounts and transfer all your funds to poor people in the 3rd World then I've done no wrong because you're still better off than they are ?
I wouldn't have any grounds to complain that I was being treated unfairly with respect to the donee. I might have other grounds to complain, for instance, that I was being treated unfairly with respect to other people more wealthy than I who weren't hacked into (fairness with respect to third parties). Or that I was then unable to plan my finances. Or as you say on the grounds of consent. That the hacker is high-handed and not subject to scrutiny of their actions and decisions.
You're mixing up different things here. Consent is a moral issue. Whether an act is morally wrong or not may depend on the presence or absence of consent. The others seem more like criteria of good government.

If someone punches you in the face, that doesn't become morally OK just because they do it to your friends as well. Moral rights and duties don't depend on comparing yourself with others in that way.

If you're suggesting that social progressives hold a theory of right and wrong that depends on such comparisons, then please explain further...

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Posts: 3169 | From: rural Ireland | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Karl: Liberal Backslider
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# 76

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Yeah, make the NHS voluntary. So all the rich people opt out and the poor die of curable conditions because the now woefully underfunded NHS cannot afford to treat them. You seem to think that people dying matters less than rich people's right to keep all their wealth. I think that is sociopathic, horderline Satanic. Why not go the whole hog and seize all the assets of NHS employees to return them to the opting out taxpayers they were "putloined" from. If this is mere sentiment it seems the world needs more sentiment and less of your cold philosophy which kills people.

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Leorning Cniht
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# 17564

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quote:
Originally posted by Russ:

The element of coercion lies in not allowing people to opt out, to make their own private arrangements instead. The moral issue is not in taxing members of the scheme, it's in forcing people to be members.

You're considering the opt-out at the wrong time. You see, by the time that you have been born, most of the dice have already been cast. Yes, I'm sure you like to think that you have achieved everything you have achieved entirely on your own merits, but that's not really true.

Generally speaking, people who are successful tend to have several of these properties: have had the fortune to be born to parents who care about their education; have the fortune to be born with some useful set of inherent traits (intelligence, beauty, athleticism, whatever); have the fortune to be born in a place with a decent school system; have the fortune to be born with parents with money; have the fortune to be born at a time and in a place when their set of skills was valued (if Einstein had been born 1000 years earlier, he'd have been a really smart peasant).

When you say you want to be able to opt out of the social safety net, you are wanting to opt out after those cards have already been played and you've seen that you're holding a winning hand.

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Dafyd
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# 5549

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quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
There's evidence that a more equal society is less stressful for everyone in the society regardless of one's wealth level, and therefore a more equal society is a good.

If you feel that way then it's a good for you. If I feel differently then it may not be a good for me.
I'm not talking about feelings. I'm talking about evidence: see graphs here. The point is that once a society has passed a certain threshhold of income per head, the inequality of that society is a much better predictor of overall life expectancy and other health measures than the income per capita. That applies even to the most well-off within the unequal societies.
You may feel you want to die sooner from stress-related diseases but I'm not sure why you expect anyone else to give that any moral weight.

quote:
quote:
Also people on lower incomes spend more of their money which drives more economic production, again a common good.
I don't believe that saving is inherently bad. There may be particular economic circumstances where it's better if more spending and less saving happens, but I don't see how it can be a universal truth. Traditionally saving for a rainy day is associated with the virtue of prudence.
If there's less spending money then there's less getting money, and therefore less money to be saved.

quote:
quote:
On a different level, I think that looking at the society to which one belongs and being able to say that it is just and that one can be proud of it is a common good.
That's an argument for vanity projects.

If you feel pleasure that your society reflects your values of order or freedom or uniformity or diversity then that's a private good for you and for those who share your views.

Are you perhaps confusing your feelings with objective reality ?

I think you are perhaps confusing objective reality with other people's feelings.
Do you think it's a private good to be part of a society?

quote:
The element of coercion lies in not allowing people to opt out, to make their own private arrangements instead. The moral issue is not in taxing members of the scheme, it's in forcing people to be members.

The practical impossibility of opting out of the criminal justice system is a reason for not considering this an issue in the case of funding the police.

A right that you can overrule any time you decide it's a practical impossibility to respect it is not a right.
You are not judging with respect to the means. Taxation to fund the police is exactly the same means-wise as taxation to fund a health service or other redistributive measure. You're judging with respect to the end.

quote:
quote:
I wouldn't have any grounds to complain that I was being treated unfairly with respect to the donee. I might have other grounds to complain, for instance, that I was being treated unfairly with respect to other people more wealthy than I who weren't hacked into (fairness with respect to third parties). Or that I was then unable to plan my finances. Or as you say on the grounds of consent. That the hacker is high-handed and not subject to scrutiny of their actions and decisions.
You're mixing up different things here. Consent is a moral issue. Whether an act is morally wrong or not may depend on the presence or absence of consent. The others seem more like criteria of good government.
Would you like to argue for your narrow understanding of the word 'moral'? I've said several times that it seems to me neither supportable from reason nor from tradition nor from custom.

quote:
If someone punches you in the face, that doesn't become morally OK just because they do it to your friends as well. Moral rights and duties don't depend on comparing yourself with others in that way.
There are sufficient differences between property and faces to make the comparison void. Punching in the face is wrong for different reasons than taking property is. (One of them being that property is alienable, while faces are not.)
I do however think that you'd agree that if the police can only stop a robbery by punching all five robbers in the face, then it is unfair of them to punch one offender in the face five times instead.

quote:
If you're suggesting that social progressives hold a theory of right and wrong that depends on such comparisons, then please explain further...
You're against moral particularism aren't you? So you think that if you do x to somebody for a reason then that reason applies to everyone who is similarly situated in respect to that reason.

You also think monopolies are wrong. That's impossible to judge without depending on such comparisons.

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we remain, thanks to original sin, much in love with talking about, rather than with, one another. Rowan Williams

Posts: 10567 | From: Edinburgh | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged
Kwesi
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# 10274

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quote:
Russ: The element of coercion lies in not allowing people to opt out, to make their own private arrangements instead. The moral issue is not in taxing members of the scheme, it's in forcing people to be members.
In addition to Leorning Cniht (previous post), one would wish to point out that coercion is a basic feature of living in any politically constituted society. Citizens are forced to do all sorts of things whether they like it or not. Locke's argument for government was that it was necessary for the enforcement of natural rights against those who refused to obey them in a state of nature. The only alternative to being forced to behave in certain ways is anarchy: a state of nature, described by Hobbes as "a state of war of everyman against everyman," in which life is "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short".
Posts: 1641 | From: South Ofankor | Registered: Sep 2005  |  IP: Logged
Soror Magna
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quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
There's evidence ....

... I feel differently ...
Couldn't resist.

That's what this is all about, innit? The facts of other people's lives vs. Russ' feelings. The fact that antisocial, regressive attitudes do real harm to real people, vs. Russ' "feeling" that he doesn't have any malice against gay cake shoppers and black employees, he's just following his "morals" and maximizing his profits in an imperfect world full of imperfect humnans.

To summarise Russ' argument: When an antisocial regressive hurts other people, he's done nothing wrong because he doesn't mean to hurt other people. When a social progressive tries to help other people, they're really only doing it because they want to hurt someone else.

I'm now waiting for Russ' explanation of who Jesus was trying to hurt with the Good News. Oh, wait, my bad: the Good News is only for after you're dead. For now, the sick stay sick, the prisoner stays in jail, and the poor stay poor.

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"You come with me to room 1013 over at the hospital, I'll show you America. Terminal, crazy and mean." -- Tony Kushner, "Angels in America"

Posts: 5430 | From: Caprica City | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged
mr cheesy
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# 3330

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I've been watching my favourite film. I think it illustrates pretty well why we should want to be George Bailey rather than Henry flaming Potter.

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arse

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Russ
Old salt
# 120

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quote:
Originally posted by Leorning Cniht:

Generally speaking, people who are successful tend to have several of these properties: have had the fortune to be born to parents who care about their education; have the fortune to be born with some useful set of inherent traits (intelligence, beauty, athleticism, whatever); have the fortune to be born in a place with a decent school system; have the fortune to be born with parents with money; have the fortune to be born at a time and in a place when their set of skills was valued (if Einstein had been born 1000 years earlier, he'd have been a really smart peasant).

Most of that sounds true, in general terms.

The one I'd quibble with us "parents with money". Because the world isn"t neatly divided into those who have money and those who don't.

And if there is some certain amount of money that you deem to be significant, then maybe the reason why the parents have that much is more important than the fact that they have it ?

quote:
When you say you want to be able to opt out of the social safety net, you are wanting to opt out after those cards have already been played and you've seen that you're holding a winning hand.
Not saying I want to opt out. Saying that not letting people opt out is coercion and coercion is a bad thing.

I'm characterising the social-progressive mindset as an end-justifies-the-means point of view. And listening to the s-ps denying it whilst insisting that achieving their desirable ends by coercion is absolutely justified...

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Wish everyone well; the enemy is not people, the enemy is wrong ideas

Posts: 3169 | From: rural Ireland | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Kwesi
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quote:
Russ: Not saying I want to opt out. Saying that not letting people opt out is coercion and coercion is a bad thing.

I'm characterising the social-progressive mindset as an end-justifies-the-means point of view. And listening to the s-ps denying it whilst insisting that achieving their desirable ends by coercion is absolutely justified…

Russ, can I repeat the point I made about coercion in my previous post? Coercion is a basic feature of government and the need for collective action to resolve common issues. To describe coercion as a “bad thing” is to say that government is a bad thing. Perhaps that is your position.

Regarding means and ends you are mistaken to assert that social progressivism is necessarily indifferent to means in the pursuit of ends, though that it is true true in certain cases. Similarly on the right there are those who place emphasis on the importance of means, whilst for others that is not the case. The debate between means and ends, therefore, is one that divides both left and right, but not one that divides left from right.

Posts: 1641 | From: South Ofankor | Registered: Sep 2005  |  IP: Logged
Leorning Cniht
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# 17564

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quote:
Originally posted by Russ:

And if there is some certain amount of money that you deem to be significant, then maybe the reason why the parents have that much is more important than the fact that they have it ?

There isn't "a certain amount of money" that I "deem significant" - it's about the resources that the family you are born to possesses. And why they have it does make a bit of a difference - people who inherit money generally don't have quite the same attitudes as those who started without much money and made their own - but not nearly as much as the difference between having some and not having any. Not every advantage that you're born with is financial: things like the attitudes your parents have matter too.

The point is that all of that stuff - the various attributes and resources of your parents and wider family - is something that you are fortunate to benefit from, and by the time you (generic you) are considering whether to opt out of the safety net, you already know you've got it.

quote:
Not saying I want to opt out. Saying that not letting people opt out is coercion and coercion is a bad thing.
But that is equally bollocks. "Opting out" of the social safety net because you've discovered that you're alright, Jack is equivalent to playing cards with a marked deck. You know you're holding a winning hand. You don't get pretend that you don't know you're holding a pair of kings.

It is utterly intellectually bankrupt to pretend that "opting out" of the safety net once you've discovered that actually you don't need it is anything other than self-serving.

quote:
I'm characterising the social-progressive mindset as an end-justifies-the-means point of view. And listening to the s-ps denying it whilst insisting that achieving their desirable ends by coercion is absolutely justified...
Your argument is intellectually flawed. In short, it is complete bollocks. You repeatedly assert, without any actual evidence, that social progressives have and end-justifies-the-means philosophy, and are deaf to all the evidence that has been offered to the contrary.

You have now trotted out another libertarian axiom - that coercion is always bad, and applied it in a simplistic fashion to obtain a stupid result.

So to clarify, the social safety net is in large part insurance against being born holding a bad hand. You don't get to peek at the outcome before deciding whether or not to choose to buy insurance - I'm sure you'd agree that no insurance company would let you call up and purchase car insurance starting from yesterday to cover the accident that you just had. Similarly, once you are born, you know what cards you're inheriting. You don't get to choose whether or not to bet at that point. That wouldn't make any sense at all.

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Golden Key
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# 1468

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Russ--

quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
There's evidence that a more equal society is less stressful for everyone in the society regardless of one's wealth level, and therefore a more equal society is a good.

If you feel that way then it's a good for you. If I feel differently then it may not be a good for me. I may be one of those people who buys lottery tickets that make one person a lot richer and a lot of people a little poorer. Because it's good to dream. I may prefer a city with hovels and palaces to a city of terraced suburbia.

And which would you be living in, Russ? Hovel or palace? And why?

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Blessed Gator, pray for us!
--"Oh bat bladders, do you have to bring common sense into this?" (Dragon, "Jane & the Dragon")
--"Oh, Peace Train, save this country!" (Yusuf/Cat Stevens, "Peace Train")

Posts: 18595 | From: Chilling out in an undisclosed, sincere pumpkin patch. | Registered: Oct 2001  |  IP: Logged
Dafyd
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quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
Saying that not letting people opt out is coercion and coercion is a bad thing.

Coercion by definition implies the use of force. When the Artful Dodger lifts Mr Brownlow's pocket watch he does not use coercion; when Inspector Bucket stops the Artful Dodger and takes the watch off him Inspector Bucket does use coercion.
I'm pretty sure that you approve of Inspector Bucket using coercion. And I think you don't want to let the Artful Dodger opt out of respecting other people's property rights.

quote:
I'm characterising the social-progressive mindset as an end-justifies-the-means point of view. And listening to the s-ps denying it whilst insisting that achieving their desirable ends by coercion is absolutely justified...
Would you like to substantiate this characterisation? I think all your attempts have been answered.

Do you think achieving your desirable ends - funding a police force, protecting absolute property rights - by coercion is absolutely justified?
Are you implying that a social-progressive who is willing to use progressive taxation to fund social-progressive ends is therefore prepared to use any means to justify those ends? (That seems a leap of logic to me.)
If you answer 'yes' to both of the above then that would imply that you would use any means to justify your ends?

--------------------
we remain, thanks to original sin, much in love with talking about, rather than with, one another. Rowan Williams

Posts: 10567 | From: Edinburgh | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged
RuthW

liberal "peace first" hankie squeezer
# 13

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quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
The one I'd quibble with us "parents with money". Because the world isn"t neatly divided into those who have money and those who don't.

It's not "neatly divided," but the country I live in is increasingly divided in just this way, as the middle class is shrinking.

quote:
Not saying I want to opt out. Saying that not letting people opt out is coercion and coercion is a bad thing.
Do you pay taxes? Stop for red lights? Serve jury duty?
Posts: 24451 | From: La La Land | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged



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