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Source: (consider it) Thread: What motivates the left/the right
Arethosemyfeet
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I think you'll actually find it exists but it is hidden in plain sight. A lot of what you seek is actually contained in Blairism. No interest in changing the social order, just a sort of noblesse oblige to ensure that the little people don't get left too far behind. It's odd to think that ideologically we're pretty much back to the end of the 19th century, with unions seen as this sort of dangerous 5th column to be corralled and hemmed in by regulation and prohibition, and any talk of socialism is treated as tantamount to treason.
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Albertus
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No, Blairism is meritocratic liberalism.
I think we're in a worse position now than we were at the end of the C19. Then things were moving forward: there was a huge interest in social improvement, although there were sometimes fairly substantial disagreements about how to achieve it. Now almost nobody seems to give much of a toss, even really on much of the so-called left - that's bloody post-materialism for you (don't let me get started on that one).

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Bibliophile
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quote:
Originally posted by Arethosemyfeet:
I think you'll actually find it exists but it is hidden in plain sight. A lot of what you seek is actually contained in Blairism.

Just to remind you of some of the actions of the last Labour government

School Standards and Framework Act 1998
House of Lords Act 1999
Equalities Act 2010
Scottish and Welsh Devolution

and these were absolutely typical of the Blair/Brown government. Its attitudes were pro constitutional reform and devolution, pro political correctness, pro comprehensive schooling and pro mass immigration. Does any of that sound like traditional conservatism?

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Arethosemyfeet
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Providing and improving state education was very much in the remit of the old tory paternalists, as was some degree of protection for workers and consumers (which is all the equalities act really amounts to, please do take your "political correctness" and shove it where the sun shineth not), so long as they didn't get uppity and start wanting to run the country or anything. I don't know much about 19th century patterns of immigration so can't comment on that, though my recollection is that most of the old tories good work was done at the local level (you have to recall that most of what we would now consider public services were dealt with at municipal level in the 19th century). A measure to stack the Lords with your own cronies isn't realistically reformist. I'll accept that devolution was more in the old school Liberals line of thinking (as per Irish home rule).

[ 27. July 2015, 06:43: Message edited by: Arethosemyfeet ]

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Albertus
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I'd disagree with your analysis of the Equality Act. It combines liberalism- removing barriers to the efficient workings of markets in labour and so on - with a certain amount of genuine egalitarianism- e.g. the duty of public bodies to address socio-economic inequality (not implemented by the incoming Coalition in 2010 and so sttill not in force, but there in the Act nonetheless). On the whole I think the Equality Act is a good thing, but it's not a conservative statute.

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Penny S
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I was listening to Vicky Pryce on Matthew Parris' Great Lives today - her choice was Melina Mercouri. She spoke about the day the Colonels lost control of Greece - the control they had acquired with outside help (unnamed, but there has been a pattern of who supported that sort of government). The power, Mercouri had said, had come back to the people.

And then I read, a couple of weeks late, a piece in the Radio Times in which Michael Buerk interviewed Katie Hopkins. Who clearly wants to control society in her own way, even to having compulsory euthanasia vans to remove inconvenient old people. No consideration for their families, or anyone's feelings.

And I found myself listening to an inadvertent recording of "The Handmaid's Tale" which followed on from the recording of "Journey into Space" which I have been following - and where it was too easy for Charles Chilton to suppose a controlling and dehumanising society on Mars, the planet of war.

And I found myself singing internally the words of a hymn my mother would have liked for her funeral, except that she would not have wanted to offend her non-left wing friends who had not spent their lives with a Social Service section in their hymn books (or if they had one, had never gone there). When wilt Thou save the people, written in the mid 19th century by Ebenezer Elliott.

I suspect that the motivations of the left have been a concern for the welfare* of "the people", who have not been seen as the people at the top, and those of the right for an ordered and well structured society - for whose benefit I don't know.

*I use the word in its original meaning - we probably need a new one now that it has been Newspeakly trashed like asylum and refugee and correct.

[ 11. August 2015, 23:54: Message edited by: Penny S ]

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art dunce
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All the lefties I know wish to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.

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Sioni Sais
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quote:
Originally posted by art dunce:
All the lefties I know wish to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.

If by "afflict" you mean "tax", you have a point. Otherwise to regard taxation as an affliction is cryin' poor.

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saysay

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quote:
Originally posted by art dunce:
All the lefties I know wish to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.

Odd. Almost all the lefties I know want complete and utter control over the thoughts, feelings, and behavior of the great unwashed in order to maintain their arbitrary elite position in society.

They want power without knowing why they want it, as well as the forced dependence of their "inferiors."

Must know different lefties.

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lilBuddha
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I know a lot of left-leaning folks who are poor. Not certain how they fit into your definition, saysay.

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Penny S
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Funny, saysays' lefties' characteristics seem to fit the present Conservative cabinet.
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Albertus
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saysay offers a caricature of a certain kind of lefty- what in the UK we would recognise as the Fabian tradition (intellectual, technocratic)- except that the Fabians did know why they wanted power- they believed that they knew what was best for people.

But there is a whole and strong lefty tradition, verging on the anarchist, of which saysay seems to be (wilfully?) unaware. This is about equality as the precondition for responsible but joyful self-fulfilment and abundant living- the creation of a society in which, as IIRC RH Tawney said, 'anyone could tell anyone else to go to hell, but nobody would want to'. In Britain, apart from Tawney you'll find different versions of this in people like William Morris and Oscar Wilde, as well as, to come into the C20, Tony Crisland, and then to come up to date, Frank Field and some of the 'Blue Labour' people - Jon Cruddas, Maurice Glasman.

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Albertus
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Sorry Crosland of course not Crisland.

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leo
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quote:
Originally posted by saysay:
Odd. Almost all the lefties I know want complete and utter control over the thoughts, feelings, and behavior of the great unwashed in order to maintain their arbitrary elite position in society.

You obviously don't know many lefties.

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Penny S
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I suppose I could say that some of the hard left I have met wanted complete control over, not the unwashed, but those who considered themselves their betters, or who they thought considered themselves their betters, than whom they really knew better.

They also suffered the fault of assuming that those who disagreed with them did not do so because they thought they (the HL) were wrong, but because they knew that they (the HL) were right, and wanted to maintain their power over everyone else, which allowing the HL to have their way would take from them. This assumption was wrong. Everyone knew that they (the HL) were wrong.

These people popped up in the Labour Party as Militant Tendency, the NUT (National Union of Teachers) as Rank and File, and, just for a change, in the Nature charity which became the Wildlife Trusts, which, for a while, in certain boroughs of London, was neither concerned much with wildlife, or very trustworthy. Perfectly OK now, though.

They were very effective at disrupting organised debate and making people afraid to attend meetings, even to the extent of bullying nice little old ladies in public. (X wouldn't have done that, she's a socialist! Genuine comment.*) But totally useless in running anything they got control of.

However, they were only very few, and were moved around a lot by whoever controlled them, and were by no means the true expression of left wing thinking and behaviour in the UK. I never knew what motivated them.

These people defined themselves as being of the left. They probably considered all the rest of the left as not being true lefties. They probably formed the model for the Python's Palestinian groups in "Life of Brian". They should no more be taken as the model of what lefties are that the WBC should be taken as a model of what either Baptists or Christians are.

*Said little old lady had pointed out that the work they were undertaking was destroying bird nests during the nesting season, which is illegal as well as not very wildlife supportive, and was shouted at by one of the women in the group, who denied the evidence of broken eggs and contents.

[ 13. August 2015, 14:10: Message edited by: Penny S ]

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Russ
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Seems to me that someone who wants the government to:
- Be efficient and not wasteful
- Perform effectively the historic functions of government - defence of the realm, preserve law and order, maintain a sound currency
- focus on facilitating the creation of wealth
would tend to be thought of as right-leaning.

Someone who wants government to focus on redistributing wealth is left-leaning.

This is motivation.

In a two-party system, whichever side captures the centre ground gets power. So intelligent governments of left and right try to do just enough of what the other side approves of to not lose the support of centrist voters who want a bit of both agendas. For this reason, looking at what particular governments have done isn't always a good guide to the underlying differences of motivation.

And it really pisses off the party activists of both sides that the politicians are more interested in courting the centre than in pleasing the people who worked to get them elected...

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mousethief

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quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
Someone who wants government to focus on redistributing wealth is left-leaning.

I don't know anybody who wants the government to focus on redistributing wealth. It is a means to an end, not an end in itself.

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RooK

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Guess which way I lean:
  • I'm not abjectly afraid of everything such that I'm willing to give up my rights, or the rights of other people.
  • I believe in both meritocracy and flatter-rate contribution instead of social classes and loopholes.
  • I tend to believe experts - especially in the realms of science, economy, and diplomacy. Experts being people actually educated in the relevant field, with experience, and quantitative facts they can reference and share.
  • I prefer for citizens to electing representative government instead of a few wealthy individuals and companies buying special access and privileges.
  • I believe that investing in key infrastructure, education, and science/technology/medicine/art is invaluable and helps everyone become more prosperous.

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orfeo

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quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
Seems to me that someone who wants the government to:
- Be efficient and not wasteful
- Perform effectively the historic functions of government - defence of the realm, preserve law and order, maintain a sound currency
- focus on facilitating the creation of wealth
would tend to be thought of as right-leaning.

The size of government has precisely nothing to do with the efficiency of government. Efficiency has to do with doing whatever it is you're doing as efficiently as possible, which is an entirely different issue from the more left/right question of which things government should be involved in in the first place.

And indeed, one of the big problems is that the decision about what government should be involved in is usually driven by ideology, not by asking "who can do this task more efficiently, the government or private enterprise?"

The public service here has been living under "efficiency dividends" for years. These basically cut money from agencies and then tell the agencies to go figure out what to do about it. These dividends in fact punish efficient agencies (who can only cope by genuinely cutting services) as opposed to inefficient agencies (who can, if they choose to do so, absorb the cut by becoming more efficient in doing the same thing, or can stay inefficient while cutting out certain services).

[ 25. August 2015, 09:10: Message edited by: orfeo ]

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Firenze

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quote:
Originally posted by RooK:
Guess which way I lean:
  • I'm not abjectly afraid of everything such that I'm willing to give up my rights, or the rights of other people.
  • I believe in both meritocracy and flatter-rate contribution instead of social classes and loopholes.
  • I tend to believe experts - especially in the realms of science, economy, and diplomacy. Experts being people actually educated in the relevant field, with experience, and quantitative facts they can reference and share.
  • I prefer for citizens to electing representative government instead of a few wealthy individuals and companies buying special access and privileges.
  • I believe that investing in key infrastructure, education, and science/technology/medicine/art is invaluable and helps everyone become more prosperous.

Stinking pinko crypto-Muslim antichrist!
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Albertus
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Bloody Liberal.
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Soror Magna
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quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
...
- Perform effectively the historic functions of government - defence of the realm, preserve law and order, maintain a sound currency ....

Well, it's the year 2015, so it's probably a good idea for governments to take on some more modern functions. The "historic functions of government" is a stupid expression, along with that crap about "governing the least".

Seriously, is there a place in your historic government for e.g. child labour laws, public health, dealing with a nuclear meltdown, putting out house fires, stopping ordinary folks from owning rocket launchers or pet tigers, family law, public education, regulating financial institutions, registering companies and businesses, establishing weights and measures, building roads and deciding which side to drive on .... and collecting the revenues to do all this. Or are you one of those Ayn Rand anarchists who think we can all get along just fine doing whatever we want and neighbours will cooperate to build their own sewer systems and the "free market" will sort everything out?

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Penny S
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quote:
Originally posted by Soror Magna:
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
...
- Perform effectively the historic functions of government - defence of the realm, preserve law and order, maintain a sound currency ....

Well, it's the year 2015, so it's probably a good idea for governments to take on some more modern functions. The "historic functions of government" is a stupid expression, along with that crap about "governing the least".

Seriously, is there a place in your historic government for e.g. child labour laws, public health, dealing with a nuclear meltdown, putting out house fires, stopping ordinary folks from owning rocket launchers or pet tigers, family law, public education, regulating financial institutions, registering companies and businesses, establishing weights and measures, building roads and deciding which side to drive on .... and collecting the revenues to do all this. Or are you one of those Ayn Rand anarchists who think we can all get along just fine doing whatever we want and neighbours will cooperate to build their own sewer systems and the "free market" will sort everything out?

Be fair, he would probably put some of those under "preserve law and order".
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Sioni Sais
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quote:
Originally posted by Penny S:
quote:
Originally posted by Soror Magna:
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
...
- Perform effectively the historic functions of government - defence of the realm, preserve law and order, maintain a sound currency ....

Well, it's the year 2015, so it's probably a good idea for governments to take on some more modern functions. The "historic functions of government" is a stupid expression, along with that crap about "governing the least".

Seriously, is there a place in your historic government for e.g. child labour laws, public health, dealing with a nuclear meltdown, putting out house fires, stopping ordinary folks from owning rocket launchers or pet tigers, family law, public education, regulating financial institutions, registering companies and businesses, establishing weights and measures, building roads and deciding which side to drive on .... and collecting the revenues to do all this. Or are you one of those Ayn Rand anarchists who think we can all get along just fine doing whatever we want and neighbours will cooperate to build their own sewer systems and the "free market" will sort everything out?

Be fair, he would probably put some of those under "preserve law and order".
I can't see any of the above that hasn't either been done in the private sector (putting out fires and building and operating roads) or can be termed creeping welfarism (eg; child labour & public education), hamstringing business (eg; regulating financial institutions) or limiting the rights of the individual (eg; forbidding the ownership of tigers and rocket launchers).

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Penny S
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I think there was a problem with the fire putting out situation under private enterprise - fires in buildings without the right plaque on them wouldn't be extinguished, and would then be a hazard to neighbours.

Even in Ancient Rome the fire service was a public service.

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Sioni Sais
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quote:
Originally posted by Penny S:
I think there was a problem with the fire putting out situation under private enterprise - fires in buildings without the right plaque on them wouldn't be extinguished, and would then be a hazard to neighbours.

Even in Ancient Rome the fire service was a public service.

I didn't say the private sector solutions were a good idea! As for Rome, many functions were provided by the state, panem etc circenses as a "dole" to the poor but a vast amount of infrastructure besides. All that war loot helped.

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Penny S
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And the slaves.
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Russ
Old salt
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quote:
Originally posted by Soror Magna:
is there a place in your historic government for e.g. child labour laws, public health, dealing with a nuclear meltdown, putting out house fires, stopping ordinary folks from owning rocket launchers or pet tigers, family law, public education, regulating financial institutions, registering companies and businesses, establishing weights and measures, building roads and deciding which side to drive on

Interesting mix.

Unfortunately, there are people who think that which side of the road to drive on is an important question that deserves to be kept under continuing review by a government committee with secretarial and research support, all occupying plush offices in the capital city...

Does your reaction mean that you agree with me that the scope of government is one of the basic issues that divides left and right ? Sounds like you agree the principle and are just trying to draw the line that marks "the centre" in a different place from where you think I was drawing it. So as to put the right-leaning people further out on the wing and the left-leaning people closer to the middle...

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Alan Cresswell

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Scope of government is something that divides people along all political axes. The platform for any political party, regardless of where it falls on the various different positions of a multi-dimensional compass, is effectively "we believe government should be doing ... and if you elect us that is what we will do as your government".

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Soror Magna
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quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
...Does your reaction mean that you agree with me that the scope of government is one of the basic issues that divides left and right ? ...

No. I believe that many on the "right" have never actually given any serious, systematic thought to what government should do and how. They're just content to repeat the "govern least" mantra and put cynical anti-gummint bumper stickers on their cars and continue voting against their own interests. But as soon as their neighbour does something idiotic like building a Ferris wheel in the front yard, they luuuurve big government. And any time there's a teacher's strike, the much-maligned public school system suddenly becomes an "essential service". So, yes, I agree that there is always going to be a live debate over the scope of government, but the argument is usually between responsible, thoughtful citizens and mouth-breathing troglodytes, left or right.

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lilBuddha
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Comment to small government concept.
If one truly wants a small government, start by killing billions of people so that we may go back to a truly agrarian, small tribe economy.
Anything else is bullshit. We have large amounts of people attempting to live together, government is going to be massive.
"Small" government is either ignorant ranting or code for government which stays out of my business, but gets into yours.
Comment to efficiency.
Effiency is a blade which is sharpened on both edges.
A bit of inefficiency can act as a sheath and reduce casualty numbers.

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Hallellou, hallellou

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orfeo

Ship's Musical Counterpoint
# 13878

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quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
Unfortunately, there are people who think that which side of the road to drive on is an important question that deserves to be kept under continuing review by a government committee with secretarial and research support, all occupying plush offices in the capital city...

Prove it. I call bullshit for the simple reason that hardly any country has ever switched or shown any sign of switching. There's only a handful of cases in the last century.

[ 26. August 2015, 23:30: Message edited by: orfeo ]

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Technology has brought us all closer together. Turns out a lot of the people you meet as a result are complete idiots.

Posts: 18173 | From: Under | Registered: Jul 2008  |  IP: Logged
Soror Magna
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# 9881

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The people occupying the plush offices and having endless discussions are often elected officials, not the people who do the actual work of government. Behind each cabinet minister's profligate travel spending are thousands of employees desperately trying to do more and more with less and less, while enduring constant insults and cynicism from the citizens they serve. A couple of generations ago, there was a tacit understanding that government jobs paid less than the private sector, but had better security and benefits. Now it's about "competing" with the private sector for "talent" at the top of the org chart, and stagnant wages and downsizing for everybody below. The result is that a few people are making out like bandits while the rest are being pushed to the point of burnout.

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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
Albertus
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# 13356

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quote:
Originally posted by orfeo:
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
Unfortunately, there are people who think that which side of the road to drive on is an important question that deserves to be kept under continuing review by a government committee with secretarial and research support, all occupying plush offices in the capital city...

Prove it. I call bullshit for the simple reason that hardly any country has ever switched or shown any sign of switching. There's only a handful of cases in the last century.
I don't think that Russ quite meant to be taken literally on that particular subject. But yes, he need to prove it- I think this is just the kind of lazy pseudo-Chicago/Virginia public choice bollocks that is trotted out by people who know fuck-all about how government actually works, or who take one or two egregious examples and extrapolate from them, as if the climate was the same thing as the weather, as it were.

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My beard is a testament to my masculinity and virility, and demonstrates that I am a real man. Trouble is, bits of quiche sometimes get caught in it.

Posts: 6498 | From: Y Sowth | Registered: Jan 2008  |  IP: Logged
orfeo

Ship's Musical Counterpoint
# 13878

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quote:
Originally posted by Albertus:
quote:
Originally posted by orfeo:
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
Unfortunately, there are people who think that which side of the road to drive on is an important question that deserves to be kept under continuing review by a government committee with secretarial and research support, all occupying plush offices in the capital city...

Prove it. I call bullshit for the simple reason that hardly any country has ever switched or shown any sign of switching. There's only a handful of cases in the last century.
I don't think that Russ quite meant to be taken literally on that particular subject. But yes, he need to prove it- I think this is just the kind of lazy pseudo-Chicago/Virginia public choice bollocks that is trotted out by people who know fuck-all about how government actually works, or who take one or two egregious examples and extrapolate from them, as if the climate was the same thing as the weather, as it were.
Exactly. I don't think he meant to be taken literally on it either, but it's the typical response of anyone who thinks that someone else's job is either easy or valueless.

The public service isn't above criticism by any means, but I have no patience for people who think that there is no value in it.

Nor do I have any patience for people who dismiss the value of stepping back and thinking about things and researching and reviewing them and who only see value in "concrete" activity. Any professional course on project planning or on the skills that an organisation needs will rapidly show how that's simply bullshit.

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Technology has brought us all closer together. Turns out a lot of the people you meet as a result are complete idiots.

Posts: 18173 | From: Under | Registered: Jul 2008  |  IP: Logged
Albertus
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# 13356

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Agreed!

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My beard is a testament to my masculinity and virility, and demonstrates that I am a real man. Trouble is, bits of quiche sometimes get caught in it.

Posts: 6498 | From: Y Sowth | Registered: Jan 2008  |  IP: Logged



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