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Feb 25 2014

A magnificent denunciation of libertarian revision

Really. It’s terrific. Watch The Daily Show with Jon Stewart from yesterday.

887 comments

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  1. 501
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    Tom J

    First of all, the premise of the question is faulty, “given that the market demonstrably has not lifted all or even most poor people out of their poverty.” People rise out of poverty and fall down into it all the time, it’s called economic mobility and it’s described in this paper http://www.nber.org/papers/w19843

    So you’re saying “this is a thing that happens: it’s natural, nothing to be too concerned about.” If poverty is an unavoidable feature of the system, why the fuck are you defending the system?

    Second, I’d need a definition of the “poverty problem”, what exactly do you propose we fix?

    Well here’s a start. I apologise if you wanted dry, manipulable statistics. I decided to go with stories of what the actual fucking problem actually fucking looks like, for those it actually fucking effects. There are babies being raised in tunnels. They are not points on a graph. There’s a slim chance that any vestiges of empathy you have might kick in. But I’m not holding my breath.

    I’ll ask again. Poverty exists. Rather than just wait for the market to (hopefully, theoretically) fix what the market has caused, what do you propose to do, now? Because those people are starving now. Promising that it’ll all be okay at some undetermined time in the future, will not help them one jot.

    Further, what do you propose to do, to ensure that “natural fluctuations” of the market do not cause people to lose their homes and go hungry again?

    Further still, if you really do claim that this is natural to the system, and that it will always lead to a certain number of people being destitute, why do you think the system is a good one?

  2. 502
    Travis

    Dalillama, there is a problem with your link about food security. It is nothing big, just a quotation mark left at the end of the link.
    http://feedingamerica.org/hunger-in-america/hunger-studies/map-the-meal-gap.aspx

    The data set of the study he cited is not applicable to the argument he tries to use it to support. I pointed this out in my first post about it. It doesn’t matter if the study was well done or not (it wasn’t – it doesn’t even properly define the important terms such as prosperity or economic freedom, and in fact defined them in a manner that prejudicially biased the result)

    I know, ugh, I find it particularly infuriating when people claim to be super duper special sceptics, feeling the need to invoke Sagan a few times to establish their credibility, but they cannot turn that sceptical eye toward their own position, or the data they used to back it up.

  3. 503
    Amphiox

    Entrepreneurs are people. Businesses are made of people. Government is also made of people. There is absolutely nothing business can do that government cannot also do given the political will. PEOPLE create. If businesses made up of people can create then government made up of people can also create. To say that government cannot create is rank idiocy and flat out dishonesty

    It is mind boggling watching libertarian apologists talk about government as if it were some kind of mystical entity divorced from the people who make it up. Government is people. Government can do whatever the people who make it up and consent to accept its authority want it to do.

  4. 504
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    Dalillam/Travis:

    Thanks for the link.

    Interesting that, for the most part, the more conservative the area, the higher the percentage of people who need help. Hmmm. I wonder if that means something?

  5. 505
    Amphiox

    It should be noted that even within the biasedly defined parameters of that Cato study, WITHIN that top quartile, nations with slightly more regulation like Sweden do better on all the metrics that matter than nations with slightly less regulation like the US and Hong Kong. So even within the parameters of the study (with their weaselly arbitrary definition of “economic freedom” to be just as broad and just as narrow as they want it to be to get the result they wanted to get), it shows that there is an ideal level of regulation, somewhere within that top quartile, and prosperity drops if you have less regulation than that ideal amount, which of course is utterly incompatible with Tom J’s dishonest assertion that the study supports his contention that prosperity also rises as regulations fall.

    The study also shows that the level of regulation in the US at this time is BELOW the ideal amount, so while there are indeed many economies in the works that stand to benefit from fewer regulations, the US is not one of them. The US needs MORE regulation than it currently has.

  6. 506
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    I wonder if Tom J knows how many regulations and taxes Somalia has?

  7. 507
    Dalillama, Schmott Guy

    Ogvorbis 504

    Hmmm. I wonder if that means something?

    Well, Tom J and Caesar and Alexander are here to assure us that it can’t possibly mean conservative policies make for shitty government and economy, and they’re skeptics ™ ; They even reference Carl Sagan!

  8. 508
    Amphiox

    Of course, within the US, the ranks of the most prosperous states are filled with Blue States that gave relatively more regulation by the government.

  9. 509
    Bicarbonate is back

    Dalillama @498

    Thanks, that was a really good read.

    I come to this blog and its comments to de-pollute my mind of the shit spouted by such as Tom J. It’s everywhere, it’s invasive, it’s snowballing. And when it’s not screaming at us all out of a screen or a speaker it’s two feet away from me, on the other side of my window that opens onto the city streets, in the form of one of my neighbors who loudly complains all day about taxes and regulations and calls my third-floor neighbor a “welfare queen”. Why is there a guy standing at my window doing a Tom J? He comes and goes all day on his scooter, his business is making and selling the labels that get stitched into clothing in what’s left of Paris’s garment district. He makes the labels in his apartment on the 5th floor. And who is he talking to? Anyone who will listen, other neighbors, passersby.

  10. 510
    Tom J

    Amphiox –

    You’re talking nonsense:

    since it does not include any examples in its dataset of the no regulation extreme (such examples not in existence to test as they’ve already been tried historically and abandoned for manifest failure) even if it was a perfect study its result does not support Tom J’s original contention that he tried to use it to support.

    The data set of the study includes almost every country in the world. Each country is given a score based on a set of metrics. When that score is correlated with per capita GDP, the results show that those countries with the highest score are also the most prosperous countries. Its there in black and white.

    You can argue – which you haven’t to date – that the metrics are flawed. If so, which metrics would you use and why are they better?

    You also use an interesting rhetorical device to obfuscate – you never quote my original point, you never quote what the study purports to say, and you never cite data to back up your claims.

    You also say that the report doesn’t define economic freedom, but this is just a lie – the report does so on page 1 of chapter 1.

    The concept of economic freedom: The cornerstones of economic freedom are (1) personal choice, (2) voluntary ex- change coordinated by markets, (3) freedom to enter and compete in markets, and (4) protection of persons and their property from aggression by others. Economic freedom is present when individuals are permitted to choose for themselves and engage in voluntary transactions as long as they do not harm the person or property of others. While individuals have a right to their own time, talents, and resources, they do not have a right to those of others…

    So I again repeat my assertion that your objection to this study is based on belief, not fact.

  11. 511
    Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive]

    Tom, let me for a second accept your (bullshit) premise that regulations and minimum wages are antithetical to freedom.

    Here’s the difference between your ideology and what we support:

    We say, “it is better for (some subset of) the top 1% to have to give up some portion of their freedom than for (some subset of) the bottom 99% to be hungry, poisoned, injured at work, inadequately clothed, inadequately housed, and/or denied access to quality affordable healthcare.”

    You disagree.

    Go ahead, quote Franklin’s line about freedom and security at us. Go right ahead. Pretend that he’d agree with you.

    I don’t give a shit.

  12. 512
    Tom J

    Daz:

    So you’re saying “this is a thing that happens: it’s natural, nothing to be too concerned about.” If poverty is an unavoidable feature of the system, why the fuck are you defending the system?

    and

    I’ll ask again. Poverty exists. Rather than just wait for the market to (hopefully, theoretically) fix what the market has caused, what do you propose to do, now? Because those people are starving now. Promising that it’ll all be okay at some undetermined time in the future, will not help them one jot.

    Lots of people here have argued that I’m fudging terms to suit my own purposes, so lets not do the same thing with the term poverty. If you’re going to define it as “tunnel people”, which is where the link you cited led me, then we won’t use the US Government definition of the term.

    So, your assertion is that the market causes poverty. For that to be true, data would have to show an increase in poverty corresponding to an increase in free market reforms. Please point me to the data which show this.

    I laid out in general terms what I would do about the poverty problem – none of which you appear to take issue with because you cited everything but that response. So the better question is – what would you do? It’s your turn.

  13. 513
    Dalillama, Schmott Guy

    Tom J#510
    Those ‘metrics’ are meaningless collections of buzzwords. Now, getting to the meat of it, the next part, which you don’t quote, says:

    The use of violence, theft, fraud, and physical invasions are not permissible in an economically
    free society, but otherwise, individuals are free to choose, trade, and cooperate with others, and compete as they see fit.

    As libertarian models invariably do, this ignored negative externalities, such as the economic ones mentioned at length in the thread, pollution and the assorted consequences thereof, barriers to entry created by direct collusion as well as the enforced poverty already adequately covered in this thread. It also elides the problems of economic coercion, excellently summarized with examples in Ogvorbis’ #495, to which I direct you rather than quoting it in its entirety. They are also deeply dishonest in including the bolded portion, as they count strong labor unions and laws protecting same as well as the assorted worker protections said unions have fought and bled for to be a negative in their calculations of ‘economic liberty’.

    There’s a shitton more, but that’s all the time and energy I’m willing to piss down the hole that is the Cato Institute today.

  14. 514
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    Tom J

    So, your assertion is that the market causes poverty. For that to be true, data would have to show an increase in poverty corresponding to an increase in free market reforms.

    I have to show no such thing, though the terms “downsize” and “wage-cut,” to name but two, should ring a few bells. All I have to show is that poverty is a financial problem (it is) and that the prevailing financial system is not fixing that problem (it quite obviously isn’t).

    Then I need to establish that the problem is one which should be addressed. “I do not like to see people living in poverty.” There ya go. I apologise if that looks too much like an emotional appeal to you, but suffering is, after all, an emotional state. I happen to believe that the purpose of a society should be to minimise such suffering. Any system, such as your idea of a free market, which allows or causes suffering, is therefore bad, and should be either modified or thrown out.

    Do you actually give a damn about people suffering?

    I. Fucking. Repeat:

    How do you propose to make sure that such suffering, a problem of a financial nature, is minimised? As I see it, you still only have three options, unless you want to completely abandon any semblance of a market-driven economy: You can impose minimum wage, you can somehow lower the basic cost of living, or you can cover all shortfalls with government aid, at the cost of higher taxes. Choose one, or come up with a better option.

    Now, kindly stop squirming and hiding behind definitions, and address the very plain question.

  15. 515
    Tom J

    Dalillama -

    If you had led off with more arguments like the ones I go into below – instead of starting with the name calling and ‘othering’ right off the bat, I would have taken you seriously from the outset and this might have been a more productive discussion.

    And for the record, this:

    Here’s a map, shithead.

    is neither an argument nor a refutation of my argument. Of course there are people who are hungry in American, as there are everywhere. The assertion was that US society lets these people starve so that others may profit, which is simply untrue.

    Also for the record, this:

    You’ve provided fuck-all evidence for anything until you’ve got a better source than the Cato Institute.

    is also neither an argument nor a refutation of my argument. And what is this business about Cato denying climate change? From their own website: http://www.cato.org/research/global-warming

    Global warming is indeed real, and human activity has been a contributor since 1975. But global warming is also a very complicated and difficult issue that can provoke very unwise policy in response to political pressure.

    I suspect your assertion that they make up data is about as accurate as your assertion that they deny climate change.

    Now that we’ve dispensed with the bullshit, lets get to the meat of your argument:

    Well, just for starters, the social democracies of Europe are demonstrably doing better than we are in the U.S. even with their still heavily capitalistic systems, so that direction would be a good start. That is to say implementing a strong investment in the social and physical infrastructure of the 21st century: single payer healthcare, a robust social safety net, high-speed rail, high-speed internet connectivity, heavy research investments and all that jazz.

    Demonstrably doing better…at what? Perhaps you’ve missed some financial news in recent years, but the Eurozone has been undergoing a fiscal crisis: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eurozone_crisis

    The problem with the US drifting towards more European public policies is that, the Hoover Dam notwithstanding, governments don’t create wealth. We can certainly invest in all of those things you mentioned here in the US, but those kinds of policies are what contributed to the Eurozone crisis in the first place. Not to mention the enormous amount of debt we’ve already built up in the US, in addition to unfunded future social security and medicare expenditures (and don’t start with the social security “trust fund”, it doesn’t exist).

    Furthermore, were high speed rail economically feasible, it would have happened already. And high speed internet connectivity is already growing as a result of all those evil capitalists.

    We also need some strong tariffs on products coming from places with low wages, poor environmental and worker safety laws and similar, to boost domestic industry, probably including partial government ownership of some industries (See Ha-joon Chang for an excellent illustration of the point; I recommend you start with Kicking Away The Ladder.)

    Excellent. We’re economically wealthy here in the US so lets deny developing countries the chance to grow out of their own cycle of poverty. This directly conflicts with another one of your solutions – which I agree with – to expand the credit markets in developing economies.

    And which industries, besides health care, would you see the government take over? And for what purpose? What would the government do that the industries themselves aren’t doing right now?

    Finally, protectionism is almost never a winning long term strategy. All it does is distorts the marketplace and benefits a specific group of people – often politically connected people – for a period of time. It does not grow anything.

    Additional changes to the system would include modifying rules of incorporation to allow and encourage worker-owned cooperatives, including a corporate tax (on all corporations) paying into a fund providing capital for starting of same (as has been done in Emilia Romanga for decades, leading to consistently higher wages and standards of living than comparable jurisdictions throughout Europe ).

    Worker-owned cooperatives already operate in the US. http://www.usworker.coop/about/what-is-a-worker-coop

    “Researchers and practitioners conservatively estimate that there are over 350 democratic workplaces in the United States, employing over 5,000 people and generating over $500 million in annual revenues.”

    I haven’t done much research into co-ops, but the main problem I see with them is this: Co-operatives are democratic organisations controlled by their members, who actively participate in setting their policies and making decisions. Men and women serving as elected representatives are accountable to the membership. In primary co-operatives members have equal voting rights (one member, one vote) and co-operatives at other levels are also organised in a democratic manner.

    Were this an effective way of leading and organization and managing people, corporations (and militaries) all over the world would be operating like this. My guess is it works in a specific environment with a specific set of like-minded individuals. But as I said I don’t have much knowledge about the system.

    I would further advocate expanding that concept into Muhammed Yunus’ proposed right to capital, being a fund set up to guarantee that persons wishing to start productive enterprises have the resources to do so. Enterprises larger than a single person can operate would call for pooling said capital among multiple people, and forming a cooperative, as mentioned previously. ( You should be in favor of this, as you claim to be opposed to barriers to entry, the greatest of which has always been poverty/lack of capital).

    I’ve actually been directly involved in providing micro-finance loans and grants to people in some pretty tough places in the world, so these ideas appeal to me. The issue is scope, as this article points out: http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2009/08/18/a_9_trillion_question_did_the_world_get_muhammad_yunus_wrong

    Also, I note that I didn’t call you a jackass at any point during this reply. I realize that’s your preferred method of communicating so I promise I’ll throw in some more insults next time around.

  16. 516
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    So, your assertion is that the market causes poverty. For that to be true, data would have to show an increase in poverty corresponding to an increase in free market reforms. Please point me to the data which show this.

    Easy peasy illiterate fuckwit. The US from the Reagan administration to today. Poverty numbers have gone up with deregulation.

  17. 517
    Amphiox

    You also say that the report doesn’t define economic freedom, but this is just a lie – the report does so on page 1 of chapter 1.

    Once more we see Tom J flat out lying yet again.

    I never said the report didn’t define economic freedom. I said the report used a fuzzy, wholly arbitrary definition that was tailor-made to prejudice the results towards what they wanted it to be.

    And the definition that Tom J presents here proves exactly that.

  18. 518
    Tom J

    Daz -

    Do you actually give a damn about people suffering?

    Your ideology has blinded you to the fact that this is what I’ve been talking about all along. I’m talking about how best to help people who are suffering. I’ve provided data which show that increasing freedom increase prosperity. Each and every one of my comments has been directed at arguing that freedom, both economic and political, is a proven road to prosperity.

    Your argument boils down to – You don’t agree with me about the best way to combat poverty (although you’ve yet to spell that out for me) therefore I must not give a damn about people suffering.

    Nothing could be further from the truth. I wonder if you’re afraid of being persuaded by my arguments or just simply intellectually incapable of understanding them…

  19. 519
    Tom J

    Nerd -

    Easy peasy illiterate fuckwit. The US from the Reagan administration to today. Poverty numbers have gone up with deregulation.

    You are aware this doesn’t make your point, right? Where is the “de-regulation” line?

    Wait, here it is:

    http://innovationandgrowth.wordpress.com/2010/11/17/the-age-of-regulation-started-ten-years-ago/

    Hold on a second…that line goes up too? Must be wrong…

  20. 520
    Dalillama, Schmott Guy

    Tom J#517

    ’m talking about how best to help people who are suffering.

    No you aren’t.

    I’ve provided data which show that increasing freedom increase prosperity.

    No you haven’t, for reasons which have already been exhaustively explained, but the salient one, which you still haven’t addressed, so I’ll try again, is: AVERAGE PER CAPITA GDP IS NOT A MEASURE OF OVERALL PROSPERITY, BECAUSE IT DOES NOT ACCOUNT FOR THE ACTUAL DISTRIBUTION OF WEALTH. Fucking answer that point or shut the fuck up about your alleged ‘data’

    Each and every one of my comments has been directed at arguing that freedom, both economic and political, is a proven road to prosperity.

    Except that your definitions of both are shit, and the single source you keep linking to doesn’t show what you say it does. Also, you’ve only posted the single ‘source’, which had been rebutted by at least a dozen disparate sources in various rebuttals to your comments, which is why people keep deriding your intellectual honesty.

    I wonder if you’re afraid of being persuaded by my arguments or just simply intellectually incapable of understanding them…

    BINGO!!! I got Arguing With Libertarians Bingo with “you just don’t understand our sophistimicated theology.” Courtier’s reply for the Bingo.

    I also answered your #510 back in comment #498. Do try to keep up.

  21. 521
    Amphiox

    And of course, if we closely examine this definition of “economic freedom” that is used by the report that Tom J continues to dishonestly insists supports his position:

    The concept of economic freedom: The cornerstones of economic freedom are (1) personal choice, (2) voluntary ex- change coordinated by markets, (3) freedom to enter and compete in markets, and (4) protection of persons and their property from aggression by others. Economic freedom is present when individuals are permitted to choose for themselves and engage in voluntary transactions as long as they do not harm the person or property of others. While individuals have a right to their own time, talents, and resources, they do not have a right to those of others…

    We can readily see that 1), 2) and 3) are NOT POSSIBLE unless a full-time job provides a worker with AT LEAST a livable wage.

    (Not also the emphasis on markets. If you are going to DEFINE the term to be access to markets (as if access to markets is the be-all and end-all, or even the most important thing, when it comes to the economic well-being of individual people), then OF COURSE market based systems will look better on the metric than other systems. This is just one example of the weaselly-ness of the Cato report’s definitions that I have referred to in past posts).

    Without government regulation to ensure that full-time work will provide compensation enough to cover the basic needs of living, individuals CANNOT “choose for themselves and engage in voluntary transactions” of any kind. That kind of choice is ONLY available when an individual has resources available to make transactions in excess of what the individual needs to survive. Otherwise, the individual DOES NOT HAVE ANY CHOICE, for he or she MUST make the transactions that are needed to stay alive, and he or she MUST ACCEPT whatever is immediately available, because the needs of survival will not wait.

    Thus if it is the duty of government to “permit” individuals to “choose for themselves and engage in voluntary transactions”, then the government’s FIRST DUTY is to ensure that 1) the economy is strong enough such that the fair compensation for full time labor is at least a living wage or higher, and 2) regulations exist and are properly enforced such that employers are required to provide this FAIR compensation to their workers.

    Even in its OWN DEFINITIONS (weaselly as they are), the Cato report does not support Tom J’s original assertions, and yet he continues to dishonestly claim that it does.

  22. 522
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    Tom J

    Your ideology has blinded you to the fact that this is what I’ve been talking about all along. I’m talking about how best to help people who are suffering.

    Odd that. Your “help” appears to be something along the lines of “It’s natural, but the market will sort it eventually.”

    Even if true (which I beg very much do differ), eventually is not my idea of how to help people; and nor do you address the problem of how to prevent upswings of poverty in the future. You appear quite happy to proclaim that there are “natural” cycles of poverty, but very uninterested in modifying the financial system to prevent such cycles; to stop the lows from being poverty-level low.

    Again, and at the risk of belabouring the point, I see no value in a system which allows or causes suffering, either as a feature or as a bug.

    Your ideology has blinded you…

    Wayhay! The fundamentalist’s constant and ever-reliable back-stop:

    Satan has blinded you…

  23. 523
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    The Preacher is still sermonizing from his fallacious and discredit babble. Not going to make any headway here Preacher, until you can cite the academic literature to back up your inane and discredited assertions. In fact, until you can actually show deregulation did not increase the numbers of people in poverty since the Reagan administration, when deregulation started apace, you are nothing but a proven liar and bullshitter. Who can and will be ignored as to the content of their sermons….

  24. 524
    Amphiox

    AVERAGE PER CAPITA GDP IS NOT A MEASURE OF OVERALL PROSPERITY, BECAUSE IT DOES NOT ACCOUNT FOR THE ACTUAL DISTRIBUTION OF WEALTH.

    Thusly, define at the start “economic freedom” to refer primarily to access to markets. Then define “prosperity” as per capita GDP, allowing you to ignore in doing so the importance of inequality in wealth distribution within a society.

    Claim your result is one that supports the position that government regulation is a bad thing.

    But let us consider, what is the REASON for government regulation in the first place, from a liberal perspective?

    It is to ensure fairness and equality between individuals.

    But you have JUST DEFINED YOUR TERMS to eliminate the consideration of equality between individuals from your results, even before you’ve begun your study!

    If the Cato people specifically intended their study to address the question of regulation as it pertains to individual economic well-being, then this is a textbook example of intellectually dishonest study design.

    If they did not, then Tom J’s attempt to use this study to support his libertarian positions with respect to government regulation is a textbook example of intellectual dishonesty in the misuse of inappropriate and non-relevant evidence.

  25. 525
    Tom J

    Dalillama -

    No you haven’t, for reasons which have already been exhaustively explained, but the salient one, which you still haven’t addressed, so I’ll try again, is: AVERAGE PER CAPITA GDP IS NOT A MEASURE OF OVERALL PROSPERITY, BECAUSE IT DOES NOT ACCOUNT FOR THE ACTUAL DISTRIBUTION OF WEALTH. Fucking answer that point or shut the fuck up about your alleged ‘data’

    Exhaustively asserted perhaps, but not exhaustively explained and certainly not exhaustively backed up with evidence refuting the numbers.

    If you disagree with the authors of the study using average per capita GDP, then what number should they use? What is your preferred method of accurately gauging the disparity between freer and relatively unfree countries? Per capita GDP is a widely used number – Cato didn’t make up the term – but as a number you’re correct it doesn’t account for the distribution of wealth, nor does it account for the differences in cost of living between countries, and it does not account for economic activity that does not result in monetary income.

    Now that we’ve discussed all the criticisms of the statistic, which other statistic would you prefer to use?

  26. 526
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    If the Cato people specifically intended their study to address the question of regulation as it pertains to individual economic well-being, then this is a textbook example of intellectually dishonest study design.

    The Cato people had to write a paper that the Koch family wanted. They can’t be honest in their papers, as it would show that the Koch family presuppositions are wrong. Bye-bye cushie job, being a pseudoacademic. If that isn’t coercion, I don’t know what is.

  27. 527
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    ow that we’ve discussed all the criticisms of the statistic, which other statistic would you prefer to use?

    The one where you use academic literature, rather than liberturd propaganda, as a support for your fuckwitted arguments. Try here. Public Ivies, like UC Berkeley, U Mich., U Ill., etc, are much better sources as they aren’t required to produce a given result. Some “scholar” you are. You are nothing but mouthpiece for an idiotology.

  28. 528
    Tom J

    Nerd -

    Even after I offered evidence that regulation has, in fact, been increasing as opposed to decreasing, you still have the balls to write this:

    In fact, until you can actually show deregulation did not increase the numbers of people in poverty since the Reagan administration, when deregulation started apace, you are nothing but a proven liar and bullshitter.

    Look at comment 519. Follow the link. Read the post. See the chart that reads “Regulatory Burden Reaches Record High”?

    Which one of us is the preacher again?

  29. 529
    Dalillama, Schmott Guy

    Tom J #525
    Just a sampling of relevant figures to look at:
    Mortality, morbidity, and life expectancy statistics.
    Median income, and comparison of same to cost of living.
    Wealth distribution by quintiles.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Environmental_Performance_Index
    Homelessness rates.
    Food insecurity rates.
    Crime rates.

    When you’ve displayed some comprehension of at least one of these, I’ll be more inclined to bring up more.

  30. 530
    Tom J

    All -

    I know many of you are incapable of reading anything produced by Cato with any degree of objectivity or critical thinking, but take a look at this:

    http://www.progressivefix.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/11.2010-Mandel_Reviving-Jobs-and-Innovation.pdf

    This is from the Progressive Policy Institute – surely as biased as Cato is but they are biased in your direction so you’ll no doubt find them more credible:

    “Under the circumstances, it may be time to try something new: Countercyclical regulatory policy.
    That means following a very simple rule: Don’t add new regulations on innovative and growing sectors during economic downturns.
    The goal: To encourage innovation and job creation by temporarily abstaining from additional regulation on innovative sectors, and perhaps even temporarily abating some existing regulations on innovative sectors (what I call innovation ecosystems).”

    Even a progressive policy organization is arguing for a halt and even a rollback of regulations in order to encourage innovation and job creation. But this can’t be true unless the converse – regulations discourage innovation and depress job creation – were also true.

    Now I understand this writer is a progressive so he has to say “temporarily”, (to please George Soros??)but the point remains. I’ve been arguing along much the same lines, but haven’t qualified my argument with “during a recession” or “temporarily”, nor have I argued that regulation can spur innovation (as he suggests later in the article).

    I’ll also note that only one commenter has touched upon the “cronyism” and barriers to entry argument in relation to regulations that I made a while back, which is something also along these same lines.

  31. 531
    Tom J

    Dalillama -

    Now you want me to do your work for you.

    I’ve offered my evidence, you offer yours. Pick any or all of these and compare them to the Cato ranking of countries (hint, I’ve already linked to a graph which displays the first and third statistics you mentioned, and they support Cato’s findings).

  32. 532
    Travis

    AVERAGE PER CAPITA GDP IS NOT A MEASURE OF OVERALL PROSPERITY, BECAUSE IT DOES NOT ACCOUNT FOR THE ACTUAL DISTRIBUTION OF WEALTH.

    Indeed and it is not like there is a lack of indicators available that try to take into account distribution of wealth, health, education, and prosperity. The HDI tries to take these into account and the inequality-adjusted human development index (IHDI) adjusts these calculations to take into account inequality.

  33. 533
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    ick any or all of these and compare them to the Cato ranking of countries (hint, I’ve already linked to a graph which displays the first and third statistics you mentioned, and they support Cato’s findings).

    The Cato “evidence” is paid bullshit. It is your babble. Which YOU must either demonstrate with third party evidence to be “inerrant”, or shut the fuck up about it. Since you refuse to show third party (academic) evidence, we must then make the null hypothesis anything the Cato institute says is bullshit until proven otherwise with third party evidence. Check mate presuppositionalist. You lose loser….

  34. 534
    Dalillama, Schmott Guy

    Tom J #525

    Exhaustively asserted perhaps, but not exhaustively explained

    It doesn’t really take much explanation, but since you seem to like simplistic examples, take two groups of 1,000 people, Group A and Group B. Group A consists of one person who’s got $10 billion, and 999 people with $0; they have a per capita GDP of of $10,000,000. Group B consists of 1,000 people who each have $1,000,000, giving an average GDP of $1,000,000. Which of these groups is more prosperous, in meaningful terms.
    #530
    Thor’s thundering thews you’re a tedious troll. To match the specificity of your citation, here’s the data for mortality and morbidity. Make it support your point if you can. Good luck.

  35. 535
    Bicarbonate is back

    dali 534

    Your link doesn’t work

  36. 536
    A. Noyd

    I keep pointing you guys to the Bible. Why can’t you admit god exists? It says so right in there. Maybe you just don’t understand it or your ideology is blinding you. Wait, you want me to provide some other source for my claim? I’m not going to do your work for you. And explain to me exhaustively why the Bible doesn’t show god exists.

  37. 537
    Dalillama, Schmott Guy

    Blast. That’s what I get for not using preview.
    Here it is again.

  38. 538
    JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness

    Oh, great. Another asshole who’d just shrug off my struggles to support my child in the US. Hey, that’s great to know it’s my own damn fault I can’t get out of poverty! I had no idea. It’s not like I know anything about the cycle of poverty, in and out of shelters and job hunting at the lowest level.

    But a general question was asked so I’ll give a general answer. There’s two parts to the solution, the first is providing a floor for people who come on hard times – unemployment insurance, food aid, shelters, job training, etc. The second part is providing the opportunity and the incentives to climb out of poverty.

    Goddamn am I tired of people acting like the poor are just poor because they are lazy. That’s a lie. Nobody wants to be poor. If there was a way out, people would fucking take it. Often they do in the only means available, which society doesn’t approve of. There is no need to whip the poor in order to get them to move up, being poor is motivation enough. Fuck your “incentives”. It’s just code for punishing those without money or means because the almighty dollar is the only metric of human worth in the US.

    If you’re suggesting that living in poverty is equally unpleasant in the US as it is a third world country, I suggest you try it sometime.

    Why don’t YOU try it sometime? And not just some walk in the park. I mean lose your nice clothes, don’t use your education, give you some rotten teeth, fuck up your health and bring nothing with you when you come down because all of that was gained from being outside poverty. Come live the cycle in which people die for being born in the wrong income bracket. You talk about health care yet the poor can’t get any. There is no access to first world health care. Or dental care. They are digging through the trash not because they want to become garbage workers, but because they need to. And if you think only the visible street homeless collect cans, you’d be wrong. You have no idea what’s it is like to actually being poor. You just go vacations to sight see (the poor are fascinating creatures, doncha know) in order to justify your own judgement values.

    we won’t use the US Government definition of the term.

    Good. We shouldn’t. Go read. See how fucked up and unchanging the formula is to calculate poverty in the US. The standards don’t work for today’s society. More people are poor than the US admits.

  39. 539
    vaiyt

    Everyone should work to earn a living wage, but nobody is obliged to pay it. How’s that gonna work, magic?

    This whole “grow the pizza” nonsense was economic mantra here during the 70s. Here’s a cluebat: it didn’t work. The pizza grew all right, but standards of living for most of the population either stagnated or plummeted.

    If you use Koch-sponsored glasses, which pressupose that only the government can limit freedom, you will understand how the Cato Institute’s definition works.

    (1) personal choice,

    By that they mean there are no laws theoretically limiting choices. Poverty and shitty business practices limiting the are swell, because the choice of a business owner is worth tens of millions of times more than the choice of a peon.

    (2) voluntary ex- change coordinated by markets,

    The definition of voluntary of course extends itself to people having no options immediately available that aren’t shitty. Those people can always choose to not partake in market activities and starve to death.

    (3) freedom to enter and compete in markets, and

    Again, theoretical freedom. People have the freedom to enter a market if there’s no law regulating their participation, no matter how much of a stranglehold certain business owners have on it. The abstract concept of Freedom is what matters, not the freedom of actual people.

  40. 540
    Amphiox

    Exhaustively asserted perhaps, but not exhaustively explained

    Just because you dishonestly refuse to acknowledge the many exhaustive explanations that have already been provided does not mean it hasn’t been exhaustively explained.

    It just means that you are intellectually dishonest.

    If you’re suggesting that living in poverty is equally unpleasant in the US as it is a third world country, I suggest you try it sometime.

    If you’re suggesting that an ideology that would make the wealthiest nation in the history of mankind just a teeny bit better at dealing with the poverty of its citizens than a third world country is satisfactory to you, then I spit on your pathetic and disgusting lack of human decency.

  41. 541
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Thanks for your input JAL. I sincerely doubt if any True Believer™ liberturd will listen, but the regulars and the lurkers do benefit from such a screed, which makes everything Tom J says is a bunch of presuppositional lies.

  42. 542
    chigau (違う)

    JAL
    I have been hoping you’d show in this thread.
    Very few of Them™ can survive your explanations of poverty in America.

  43. 543
    JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness

    Thank you both. That really means a lot to me. :)

  44. 544
    David Marjanović

    Et tu, IMF?

    :-o Bookmarked.

    argumentum ad mendacitas

    That would be mendacitatem, because ad goes with the accusative.

    It is mind boggling watching libertarian apologists talk about government as if it were some kind of mystical entity divorced from the people who make it up.

    There’s a long tradition in the US of treating The Government as if it still were King George III across the ocean, unelected, unaccountable, impossible to get rid of except by violence…

    ░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░

    Tom J in comment 97:

    Obamacare is immoral, in my view, not because it’s creators and supporters don’t want to help people (I won’t disparage their intentions, which I believe to be good). It is immoral because collectivizing health insurance will, as it does with nearly everything, begin it’s long slow decline (it’s already starting to have these effects).

    Translation: The US is the first country in the entire fucking world that doesn’t leave health insurance completely to the free market. Either that, or the Rest of the West plainly doesn’t exist.

    Have you no shame!?!

    I don’t want to get into a debate about health care

    Translation: I want to spew the most brazen falsehoods here. Don’t you dare point out that they’re false!

    And I thought you were honest when we were discussing energy. *puke*

    Comment 288:

    One country followed the path of freedom, the other communism. And the results are striking – if any of you have been, as I have, to the JSA on the border between the two countries, it’s an image that stays with you.

    It was only in 1987 that South Korea moved on the path to political freedom. Before that, it was a dictatorship (except for a few months in 1960/61). Your comment 350 just boggles the mind: there was neither economic nor political freedom, as several people had already explained to you when you wrote it.

    As far as economic freedom is concerned, yes, South Korea has always had more than North Korea – but do look up the term chaebol.

    In the years since we’ve seen other social experiments, the Soviet Union, Cuba, Venezuela, Greece, etc., all fail in one form or another, and all because of their collectivist policies.

    Greece had collectivist policies???

    The closest it ever came was a communist guerrilla half a century ago…

    It’s widely known what problems Greece had and largely still has. One is corruption. Another is tax dodging by the rich. Yet another is the ridiculously bloated military budget (5 % of the GDP). The Greek army has lots and lots and lots of tanks that it couldn’t even use in its mountaineous country.

    Comment 367:

    Don’t mistake this for condoning what Pinochet did – he has a lot of blood on his hands. But if I had to choose between him or Castro or Chavez, whose regimes exist only to restrict freedom, not give it to the people, I know which one I’d choose.

    I find it very… interesting that you lump Chávez with Castro here. Chávez snuggled up to Castro in diplomacy, did everything he could to annoy Bush – but his actions were nowhere near as totalitarian as his rhetoric. Sure he was full of himself, but he didn’t kill lots of people like both Castro and Pinochet have.

    I remember when Chávez held a referendum on a new constitution that would have given him even more power – and lost! Oh, sure, he was furious, but he accepted the result and moved on! Tell me again how he was a dictator just like Castro, Pinochet, Rhee, Park or Chun.

    Comment 410:

    If your labor were actually worth significantly more than your current employer is paying you, another company would snatch you up in a heartbeat – this is why executive pay tends to be exorbitant, the company believes it is hiring talent

    Eh, wait. There’s a couple of differences between executives and most of us.
    1) Executives have the money to move all around the world in search for a job. Most people can’t afford to move… pretty much at all.
    2) There are at least as many positions for executives than there are qualified candidates; the talent the companies believe they’re hiring is a rare commodity and therefore valuable. Most people are instead in the situation of having to compete with dozens to hundreds of at least equally qualified people for one job. Consequently, companies don’t need to pay them what their labor is worth; they get away with paying them what the worst, least qualified candidate’s labor is worth, or even less; they can tell everyone “accept that, or we’ll just hire the next one in the line behind you – look, the line extends all around the block”.

    That’s why there needs to be a minimum wage – created either by law or by negotiations with very powerful unions. (Germany has been trying to go the latter way, but that’s not working very well and is increasingly being abandoned.)

    Frankly, I’m surprised this isn’t obvious to you. Have you never tried to think it through?

    Comment 416:

    Minimum wage jobs are often entry level positions where workers stay for only a short period of time.

    LOL, when was that? 50 years ago?

    Comment 433:

    does Wal-Mart need, for example, cashiers for every check-out line? No, they can have one cashier for a single check-out line but that will cause an increase in wait times for the customers and a decrease in revenue as customers go to other retail outlets.

    What other retail outlets? As has already been mentioned in this thread, Wal-Mart has a monopoly in many places in the US.

    Where in the US are people starving so that others may profit? Show me these people. Then travel to North Korea or some other authoritarian state and I’ll show you people who are starving as a direct result of the policies their leaders have put in place.

    …Do I seriously need to remind you that the tu quoque argument is a fallacy!?!

    Yes, there are parts of Appalachia that belong to the 3rd World, and never mind various reservations like the mentioned Pine Ridge.

    Comment 464:

    You’re also misunderstanding poverty – poverty itself is not tyrannous as long as you have the means and the opportunity to rise out of it. What is tyrannous are policies which limit economic and political freedom and ensure those in poverty will stay there.

    Funny, then, that social mobility is so much lower in the US than in most of the Rest of the West.

    And tell me more about those means to rise out of poverty. What could those be? A job, when there are on average 3 unemployed people for every open job in the US?

    Have you never been in the situation that you weren’t able to pay your rent on time?

    Comment 474:

    I used the two Koreas as an example to illustrate my point. Never did I say that liberals were on the side of North Korea, nor would I say that.

    You did, however, insinuate it by portraying North Korea and the version of South Korea that’s in your head as extremes on a spectrum – and then pretending that the extremes are the only parts of the spectrum where it’s even possible to be. I quote from comment 338: Which end of that spectrum would you rather be on?

    Comment 497:

    For all of the bashing of the 1%, CEOs, etc, that has gone on in this thread, their crime in my opinion is not in being successful and making money, its conspiring to keep others from doing the same thing. Here’s a great quote from an interview with a successful CEO which illustrates my point.

    Yep, that’s part of why the greatest force for capitalism in the world today is the EU Commissioner for Competition.

    Comment 510:

    The data set of the study includes almost every country in the world. Each country is given a score based on a set of metrics. When that score is correlated with per capita GDP, the results show that those countries with the highest score are also the most prosperous countries. Its there in black and white.

    And all those explanations of why per-capita GDP is as irrelevant as my street number have completely passed you by?

    You also say that the report doesn’t define economic freedom, but this is just a lie – the report does so on page 1 of chapter 1.

    The concept of economic freedom: The cornerstones of economic freedom are (1) personal choice, (2) voluntary ex- change coordinated by markets, (3) freedom to enter and compete in markets, and (4) protection of persons and their property from aggression by others. Economic freedom is present when individuals are permitted to choose for themselves and engage in voluntary transactions as long as they do not harm the person or property of others. While individuals have a right to their own time, talents, and resources, they do not have a right to those of others…

    Pray tell, how does one measure voluntary exchange coordinated by markets? In millismiths?

    There needs to be some kind of detailed, objective quantification if you want to make an ordered list out of close to 200 countries. If there isn’t, you can’t do it; if the Cato Institute pretends it can do it anyway, it’s making shit up. Well, what did you expect from that stink tank.

    Comment 515:

    Demonstrably doing better…at what? Perhaps you’ve missed some financial news in recent years, but the Eurozone has been undergoing a fiscal crisis: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eurozone_crisis

    It’s still doing better than the US, you know (with large differences within the Eurozone). The difference is that the US doesn’t have the ECB and Merkel breathing down its neck.

    Furthermore, were high speed rail economically feasible, it would have happened already.

    That’s naive. It requires enormous one-time investments in infrastructure that few if any private companies can afford; once those are in place, things look quite different.

    Were this an effective way of leading and organization and managing people, corporations (and militaries) all over the world would be operating like this.

    …You’re assuming that corporations (let alone militaries) are led by people who are completely rational, not afraid to try things that are wholly foreign to their culture, not even afraid when that would take power and income away from them.

    Comment 525:

    Now that we’ve discussed all the criticisms of the statistic, which other statistic would you prefer to use?

    …I really hope you aren’t trying to argue that, if we can’t come up with something better (but see comments 529 and 532), the “statistic” must be good

  45. 545
    David Marjanović

    Hm. Looks like there’s something in my comment that triggers a spam filter. Let’s see. Part 1:

    Et tu, IMF?

    :-o Bookmarked.

    argumentum ad mendacitas

    That would be mendacitatem, because ad goes with the accusative.

    It is mind boggling watching libertarian apologists talk about government as if it were some kind of mystical entity divorced from the people who make it up.

    There’s a long tradition in the US of treating The Government as if it still were King George III across the ocean, unelected, unaccountable, impossible to get rid of except by violence…

  46. 546
    David Marjanović

    Part 2:

    ░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░

    Tom J in comment 97:

    Obamacare is immoral, in my view, not because it’s creators and supporters don’t want to help people (I won’t disparage their intentions, which I believe to be good). It is immoral because collectivizing health insurance will, as it does with nearly everything, begin it’s long slow decline (it’s already starting to have these effects).

    Translation: The US is the first country in the entire fucking world that doesn’t leave health insurance completely to the free market. Either that, or the Rest of the West plainly doesn’t exist.

    Have you no shame!?!

    I don’t want to get into a debate about health care

    Translation: I want to spew the most brazen falsehoods here. Don’t you dare point out that they’re false!

    And I thought you were honest when we were discussing energy. *puke*

    Comment 288:

    One country followed the path of freedom, the other communism. And the results are striking – if any of you have been, as I have, to the JSA on the border between the two countries, it’s an image that stays with you.

    It was only in 1987 that South Korea moved on the path to political freedom. Before that, it was a dictatorship (except for a few months in 1960/61). Your comment 350 just boggles the mind: there was neither economic nor political freedom, as several people had already explained to you when you wrote it.

    As far as economic freedom is concerned, yes, South Korea has always had more than North Korea – but do look up the term chaebol.

    In the years since we’ve seen other social experiments, the Soviet Union, Cuba, Venezuela, Greece, etc., all fail in one form or another, and all because of their collectivist policies.

    Greece had collectivist policies???

    The closest it ever came was a communist guerrilla half a century ago…

    It’s widely known what problems Greece had and largely still has. One is corruption. Another is tax dodging by the rich. Yet another is the ridiculously bloated military budget (5 % of the GDP). The Greek army has lots and lots and lots of tanks that it couldn’t even use in its mountaineous country.

  47. 547
    David Marjanović

    Well, part 3:

    Comment 367:

    Don’t mistake this for condoning what Pinochet did – he has a lot of blood on his hands. But if I had to choose between him or Castro or Chavez, whose regimes exist only to restrict freedom, not give it to the people, I know which one I’d choose.

    I find it very… interesting that you lump Chávez with Castro here. Chávez snuggled up to Castro in diplomacy, did everything he could to annoy Bush – but his actions were nowhere near as totalitarian as his rhetoric. Sure he was full of himself, but he didn’t kill lots of people like both Castro and Pinochet have.

    I remember when Chávez held a referendum on a new constitution that would have given him even more power – and lost! Oh, sure, he was furious, but he accepted the result and moved on! Tell me again how he was a dictator just like Castro, Pinochet, Rhee, Park or Chun.

    Comment 410:

    If your labor were actually worth significantly more than your current employer is paying you, another company would snatch you up in a heartbeat – this is why executive pay tends to be exorbitant, the company believes it is hiring talent

    Eh, wait. There’s a couple of differences between executives and most of us.
    1) Executives have the money to move all around the world in search for a job. Most people can’t afford to move… pretty much at all.
    2) There are at least as many positions for executives than there are qualified candidates; the talent the companies believe they’re hiring is a rare commodity and therefore valuable. Most people are instead in the situation of having to compete with dozens to hundreds of at least equally qualified people for one job. Consequently, companies don’t need to pay them what their labor is worth; they get away with paying them what the worst, least qualified candidate’s labor is worth, or even less; they can tell everyone “accept that, or we’ll just hire the next one in the line behind you – look, the line extends all around the block”.

    That’s why there needs to be a minimum wage – created either by law or by negotiations with very powerful unions. (Germany has been trying to go the latter way, but that’s not working very well and is increasingly being abandoned.)

    Frankly, I’m surprised this isn’t obvious to you. Have you never tried to think it through?

    Comment 416:

    Minimum wage jobs are often entry level positions where workers stay for only a short period of time.

    LOL, when was that? 50 years ago?

    Comment 433:

    does Wal-Mart need, for example, cashiers for every check-out line? No, they can have one cashier for a single check-out line but that will cause an increase in wait times for the customers and a decrease in revenue as customers go to other retail outlets.

    What other retail outlets? As has already been mentioned in this thread, Wal-Mart has a monopoly in many places in the US.

    Where in the US are people starving so that others may profit? Show me these people. Then travel to North Korea or some other authoritarian state and I’ll show you people who are starving as a direct result of the policies their leaders have put in place.

    …Do I seriously need to remind you that the tu quoque argument is a fallacy!?!

    Yes, there are parts of Appalachia that belong to the 3rd World, and never mind various reservations like the mentioned Pine Ridge.

    Comment 464:

    You’re also misunderstanding poverty – poverty itself is not tyrannous as long as you have the means and the opportunity to rise out of it. What is tyrannous are policies which limit economic and political freedom and ensure those in poverty will stay there.

    Funny, then, that social mobility is so much lower in the US than in most of the Rest of the West.

    And tell me more about those means to rise out of poverty. What could those be? A job, when there are on average 3 unemployed people for every open job in the US?

    Have you never been in the situation that you weren’t able to pay your rent on time?

    Comment 474:

    I used the two Koreas as an example to illustrate my point. Never did I say that liberals were on the side of North Korea, nor would I say that.

    You did, however, insinuate it by portraying North Korea and the version of South Korea that’s in your head as extremes on a spectrum – and then pretending that the extremes are the only parts of the spectrum where it’s even possible to be. I quote from comment 338: Which end of that spectrum would you rather be on?

    Comment 497:

    For all of the bashing of the 1%, CEOs, etc, that has gone on in this thread, their crime in my opinion is not in being successful and making money, its conspiring to keep others from doing the same thing. Here’s a great quote from an interview with a successful CEO which illustrates my point.

    Yep, that’s part of why the greatest force for capitalism in the world today is the EU Commissioner for Competition.

  48. 548
    David Marjanović

    Part 4:

    Comment 510:

    The data set of the study includes almost every country in the world. Each country is given a score based on a set of metrics. When that score is correlated with per capita GDP, the results show that those countries with the highest score are also the most prosperous countries. Its there in black and white.

    And all those explanations of why per-capita GDP is as irrelevant as my street number have completely passed you by?

    You also say that the report doesn’t define economic freedom, but this is just a lie – the report does so on page 1 of chapter 1.

    The concept of economic freedom: The cornerstones of economic freedom are (1) personal choice, (2) voluntary ex- change coordinated by markets, (3) freedom to enter and compete in markets, and (4) protection of persons and their property from aggression by others. Economic freedom is present when individuals are permitted to choose for themselves and engage in voluntary transactions as long as they do not harm the person or property of others. While individuals have a right to their own time, talents, and resources, they do not have a right to those of others…

    Pray tell, how does one measure voluntary exchange coordinated by markets? In millismiths?

    There needs to be some kind of detailed, objective quantification if you want to make an ordered list out of close to 200 countries. If there isn’t, you can’t do it; if the Cato Institute pretends it can do it anyway, it’s making shit up. Well, what did you expect from that stink tank.

    Comment 515:

    Demonstrably doing better…at what? Perhaps you’ve missed some financial news in recent years, but the Eurozone has been undergoing a fiscal crisis: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eurozone_crisis

    It’s still doing better than the US, you know (with large differences within the Eurozone). The difference is that the US doesn’t have the ECB and Merkel breathing down its neck.

    Furthermore, were high speed rail economically feasible, it would have happened already.

    That’s naive. It requires enormous one-time investments in infrastructure that few if any private companies can afford; once those are in place, things look quite different.

    Were this an effective way of leading and organization and managing people, corporations (and militaries) all over the world would be operating like this.

    …You’re assuming that corporations (let alone militaries) are led by people who are completely rational, not afraid to try things that are wholly foreign to their culture, not even afraid when that would take power and income away from them.

    Comment 525:

    Now that we’ve discussed all the criticisms of the statistic, which other statistic would you prefer to use?

    …I really hope you aren’t trying to argue that, if we can’t come up with something better (but see comments 529 and 532), the “statistic” must be good

  49. 549
    David Marjanović

    Part 4:

    Comment 510:

    The data set of the study includes almost every country in the world. Each country is given a score based on a set of metrics. When that score is correlated with per capita GDP, the results show that those countries with the highest score are also the most prosperous countries. Its there in black and white.

    And all those explanations of why per-capita GDP is as irrelevant as my street number have completely passed you by?

    You also say that the report doesn’t define economic freedom, but this is just a lie – the report does so on page 1 of chapter 1.

    The concept of economic freedom: The cornerstones of economic freedom are (1) personal choice, (2) voluntary ex- change coordinated by markets, (3) freedom to enter and compete in markets, and (4) protection of persons and their property from aggression by others. Economic freedom is present when individuals are permitted to choose for themselves and engage in voluntary transactions as long as they do not harm the person or property of others. While individuals have a right to their own time, talents, and resources, they do not have a right to those of others…

    Pray tell, how does one measure voluntary exchange coordinated by markets? In millismiths?

    There needs to be some kind of detailed, objective quantification if you want to make an ordered list out of close to 200 countries. If there isn’t, you can’t do it; if the Cato Institute pretends it can do it anyway, it’s making shit up. Well, what did you expect from that stink tank.

  50. 550
    David Marjanović

    Mysterious. Part 5:

    Comment 515:

    Demonstrably doing better…at what? Perhaps you’ve missed some financial news in recent years, but the Eurozone has been undergoing a fiscal crisis: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eurozone_crisis

    It’s still doing better than the US, you know (with large differences within the Eurozone). The difference is that the US doesn’t have the ECB and Merkel breathing down its neck.

    Furthermore, were high speed rail economically feasible, it would have happened already.

    That’s naive. It requires enormous one-time investments in infrastructure that few if any private companies can afford; once those are in place, things look quite different.

    Were this an effective way of leading and organization and managing people, corporations (and militaries) all over the world would be operating like this.

    …You’re assuming that corporations (let alone militaries) are led by people who are completely rational, not afraid to try things that are wholly foreign to their culture, not even afraid when that would take power and income away from them.

  51. 551
    David Marjanović

    Bizarre, because I can’t fathom what there could be in this part 6 of 6 that triggers any filter.

    Comment 525:

    Now that we’ve discussed all the criticisms of the statistic, which other statistic would you prefer to use?

    …I really hope you aren’t trying to argue that, if we can’t come up with something better (but see comments 529 and 532), the “statistic” must be good

  52. 552
    David Marjanović

    Bizarre, because I can’t fathom what there could be in this part 6 of 6 that triggers any filter.

    Comment 525:

    Now that we’ve discussed all the criticisms of the statistic, which other statistic would you prefer to use?

    …I really hope you aren’t trying to argue that, if we can’t come up with something better (but see comments 529 and 532), the “statistic” must be good

  53. 553
    David Marjanović

    Bizarre, because I can’t fathom what there could be in this part 6 of 6 that triggers any filter.

    Comment 525:

    Now that we’ve discussed all the criticisms of the statistic, which other statistic would you prefer to use?

    …I really hope you aren’t trying to argue that, if we can’t come up with something better (but see comments 529 and 532), the “statistic” must be good

  54. 554
    David Marjanović

    Bizarre, because I can’t fathom what there could be in this part 6 of 6 that triggers any filter.

    Comment 525:

    Now that we’ve discussed all the criticisms of the statistic, which other statistic would you prefer to use?

    …I really hope you aren’t trying to argue that, if we can’t come up with something better (but see comments 529 and 532), the “statistic” must be good

  55. 555
    David Marjanović

    Is it the quote or my reply? ~:-| Part 6:

    Comment 525:

    Now that we’ve discussed all the criticisms of the statistic, which other statistic would you prefer to use?

  56. 556
    David Marjanović

    Interesting. There must be something in that quote from comment 525 that triggers the filter. ~:-| My reply:

    Bizarre, because I can’t fathom what there could be in this part 6 of 6 that triggers any filter.

    …I really hope you aren’t trying to argue that, if we can’t come up with something better (but see comments 529 and 532), the “statistic” must be good

  57. 557
    David Marjanović

    Oops. Ignore the 2nd line, it’s copypasta failure.

    The quote was:

    Now that we’ve discussed all the criticisms of the statistic, which other statistic would you prefer to use?

  58. 558
    David Marjanović

    Wow.

    Wow!

    PZ! The word discussed is forbidden!!! Did some idiot outlaw cuss?!?!?

    (I’m using an HTML trick to get them through the filter.)

    Anyway, that was all. :-)

  59. 559
    David Marjanović

    Update: nope, both words go through, at least in the [Thunderdome]. ~:-|

  60. 560
    Amphiox

    poverty itself is not tyrannous as long as you have the means and the opportunity to rise out of it.

    Riiiggghhtt. And any given dictator not tyrannous since all it takes to get rid of him is a single well-placed assassin’s bullet. Riiggghhhttt.

    You know what it is that guarantees citizens the means and opportunity to rise out of poverty? GOVERNMENT REGULATION of the market abuses that interfere with citizens doing just that.

  61. 561
    Amphiox

    The data set of the study includes almost every country in the world. Each country is given a score based on a set of metrics. When that score is correlated with per capita GDP, the results show that those countries with the highest score are also the most prosperous countries. Its there in black and white.

    Since the data set is the per capita GDP of almost every country in the world, and per capita GDP is a useless metric for the purposes to evaluating the effectiveness of regulation on individual economic wellbeing, the results are inapplicable to the argument Tom J is pretending the results support.

    It’s all there in black and white.

  62. 562
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    the results are inapplicable to the argument Tom J is pretending the results support.

    Of course. But Tom J, like any godbot, simply cannot acknowledge they are wrong. Xe will be back with more presuppositinal fuckwitery tomorrow, and will still wonder why nobody believes a word Xe says. Which is obvious to any rational observer……

  63. 563
    Dalillama, Schmott Guy

    I managed to miss this one earlier:
    Tom J #515

    The assertion was that US society lets these people starve so that others may profit, which is simply untrue.

    We’ve explained to you at length how hoarding by the ultrarich and cutting wages leads to people lacking the money to buy food. I’m not going to go over it again, you can read the fucking thread.

    I suspect your assertion that they make up data is about as accurate as your assertion that they deny climate change.

    “Global warming is real, but it won’t cause problems” is page three in the denier’s handbook, after “Global warming isn’t real” and “Global warming is real but it’s not manmade”. Page four will be “Global warming is real and a problem but it would be too expensive to do anything about it”

    Demonstrably doing better…at what? Perhaps you’ve missed some financial news in recent years, but the Eurozone has been undergoing a fiscal crisis: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eurozone_crisis

    The measures I mentioned earlier; better health, better life expectancy, lower crime, dramatically less homelessness, and less of a financial crisis that we’ve had, ranging all the way to places like Iceland which had no crisis at all.

    The problem with the US drifting towards more European public policies is that, the Hoover Dam notwithstanding, governments don’t create wealth

    Like I said, you idiots don’t understand the concept of infrastructure. The Hoover Dam generates electricity. This electricity is distributed over a network of wires, and it powers industry (not to mention people’s homes, lights, computers, and all that good shit). What is that if it is not wealth? How much economic growth do you think would occur without roads, railroads, ports and airports to ship things on? Who do you think builds and maintains those? Have you looked at the economy of the Deep South before and after the TVA? You sound like a bigger ignoramus every time you touch your keyboard.

    Not to mention the enormous amount of debt we’ve already built up in the US,

    Explain, in detail, why the amount of debt that the U.S. has is problematic. Include in your explanation the reasons why that debt exists in the first place and what government debt means and how it differs from private debt. Alternately, shut the hell up about things you do not understand even slightly.

    unfunded future social security and medicare expenditures (and don’t start with the social security “trust fund”, it doesn’t exist).

    1) The reason the fund no longer exists is that people of your politcal stripe raided it in a deliberate effort to sabotage Social Security
    2)Despite that, SS will remain solvent for another 75 years at current trends
    3) this could be extended indefinitely by simply removing the current income cap on payroll taxes
    4) Medicare could easily be funded by quite minor cuts to the military budget, especially if the Medicare part D travesty rammed through in the Bush years was amended. It would be more cost effective to extend Medicare to a true single payer system, though.

    Furthermore, were high speed rail economically feasible, it would have happened already.

    BZZZZT!!!! Wrong. High-speed rail is infrastructure, which is never constructed in suffiecient quantities by for-profit enterprises. The U.S. rail system was built on Uncle Sam’s dollar, and Uncle Sam continues to foot the bill for the majority of rail maintenace too, along with the states. That’s where high-speed rail will have to come from as well.

    And high speed internet connectivity is already growing as a result of all those evil capitalists.

    Then why is U.S. connection speed so crap compared to places with civic fiber? link I invite you particularly to look at South Korea.

    Excellent. We’re economically wealthy here in the US so lets deny developing countries the chance to grow out of their own cycle of poverty..

    You didn’t do the reading I recommended, did you? The short form is that being factory peons for the developed world doesn’t constitute growing out of the cycle of poverty nor lead to it.

    This directly conflicts with another one of your solutions – which I agree with – to expand the credit markets in developing economies.

    I seriously have no fucking clue which of my statements you twisted to mean this. You’re going to need to clarify.

    And which industries, besides health care, would you see the government take over? And for what purpose? What would the government do that the industries themselves aren’t doing right now?

    Just for starters, most of the ISPs need to go, or rather be entirely restructured. Routing and hosting service are one thing, but leaving the fiber under their control has lead to many areas of the U.S. still not having any high-speed access at all, and even the better areas are still nowhere close to the connectivity speeds found in places like South Korea and Scandinavia, never mind penetration. On top of that, they’re charging ludicrous rent-seeking rates for the limited connectivity they’re providing, which is an economic drag on anyone doing business online from the small independent artisan all the way up to Xbox Live.

    Finally, protectionism is almost never a winning long term strategy. All it does is distorts the marketplace and benefits a specific group of people – often politically connected people – for a period of time. It does not grow anything.

    You really need to educate yourself about how economics work. We’ve given you the summary a half dozen times and I referred you to a complete treatment, but you keep on vomiting out the same old libertarian catchphrases. Pay some fucking attention, man.

    Were this an effective way of leading and organization and managing people, corporations (and militaries) all over the world would be operating like this.

    You once again make the assumtion that the way things are in your little corner of the world is the only way they can possibly be anywhere.
    The reson that most corporations don’t operate this way is that there’s no one at the top siphon off a huge fucking salary, and people who have a shitton of money and want more tend to prefer systems that allow them to grab them. And when those same people control access to capital, they tend not to make loans or invest in businesses that won’t let them steal a cut off the top, which, in turn, leads to those kinds of businesses not existing in great numbers, because it’s quite difficult to start a business without capital. Militaries have an entirely different set of priorities, which involves people getting dead; they are not germane to the topic in any way.

    The issue is scope, as this article points out:

    Precisely; this is why I’m proposing that the government deal with it, as they are best equipped to operate at the relevant scope.

    Also, I note that I didn’t call you a jackass at any point during this reply

    Tone-trolling gets you zero points around here.

  64. 564
    chigau (違う)

    This is waaay late but

    …were high speed rail economically feasible, it would have happened already…

    “it would have happened”
    Elves? Leprechauns?

  65. 565
    Amphiox

    The problem with the US drifting towards more European public policies is that, the Hoover Dam notwithstanding, governments don’t create wealth

    Like hell governments don’t create wealth. OF COURSE governments create wealth.

    PEOPLE create wealth, and government is PEOPLE.

    As if the railways and the interstate highways are not wealth on the same scale as the Hoover Dam. (Or the Three Gorges Dam, the Grand Canal System, the Cathedrals of Renaissance Italy, etc, seeing as the US is not the whole world).

    I suppose one could argue that since wealth, at its base, is really simply a proxy measure of energy (the ability to do things in the real world), it cannot be either created nor destroyed, merely transformed from a form inaccessible to human individuals to a form that is, and thus government, nor anything else, can “create” wealth.

    But to argue that businesses (made of up individual people) and people can “create” wealth but government (which is individual people) cannot is vapid ideological lunacy.

    There is in fact nothing stopping any government, if it so chooses, from simply passing (and enforcing) a set of laws stating “henceforth this government shall function, in every structural detail, exactly as a business would, in fact as an exact copy of all manner and policy, of Microsoft Corp (or any other profitable business)”, and if that business can create wealth, then so can the government.

    Because government is people, and government can do whatever people can do and choose for it to do.

    All it takes is the political will.

  66. 566
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    I suppose one could argue that since wealth, at its base, is really simply a proxy measure of energy (the ability to do things in the real world), it cannot be either created nor destroyed, merely transformed from a form inaccessible to human individuals to a form that is, and thus government, nor anything else, can “create” wealth.

    That would only be true if the correlation coefficient between Wealth and Energy was constant.

  67. 567
    Rey Fox

    Surprised that no one has caught this howler from Cato yet:

    Global warming is indeed real, and human activity has been a contributor since 1975.

    Must have been all those muscle cars.

  68. 568
    alwayscurious

    Corporations, by definition, have a governing structure (Board of Directors, shareholders, etc). If governments cannot create wealth, corporations cannot either.

  69. 569
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    Corporations, by definition, have a governing structure (Board of Directors, shareholders, etc). If governments cannot create wealth, corporations cannot either.

    Of course, corporations by definition don’t have State Cooties *eyeroll*

  70. 570
    Dalillama, Schmott Guy

    alwayscurious

    Corporations, by definition, have a governing structure (Board of Directors, shareholders, etc)

    And, strangely enough, the Board of Directors often operates in a pretty democratic fashion, it’s just that most members of the company don’t get to vote in it. But democratic processes can’t possibly run a business, at least not of those filthy workers get a vote, amirite?

  71. 571
    Ingdigo Jump

    poverty itself is not tyrannous as long as you have the means and the opportunity to rise out of it.

    You do realize you almost literally just said “Work Will Set You Free?”

  72. 572
    Tom J

    Dalillama -

    We’ve explained to you at length how hoarding by the ultrarich and cutting wages leads to people lacking the money to buy food.

    No, you haven’t. You’ve asserted a political opinion that this is true, but have cited no scholarly evidence to support this claim.

    “Global warming is real, but it won’t cause problems” is page three in the denier’s handbook

    So let me get this straight….a “climate change denier” is not somebody who denies the warming effect of CO2 in atmosphere. A “denier” is someone who acknowledges the science, but fails to agree with you politically on what, if anything, should be done about it.

    The language here is interesting and typical of political partisans who try to sway low-information voters. Someone not familiar with the subject or not familiar with Cato’s views on the subject might see your blanket characterization and think “Cato must be science-deniers,” when in fact it’s you who are lying about their position for purely political purposes.

    This is why PZ’s, and others’, foray into leftist politics is dangerous to the skeptical movement. In debunking homeopathy, anti-vaxxers, religions, etc., skeptics take care to consider all of their arguments and provide science based evidence to show why they are crap. But turn to politics and this requirement gets thrown out the window. I espouse libertarian views and cite the Cato think tank so I can – for these facts alone – be immediately dismissed. I cite uncomfortable statistics and everybody tells me they’re wrong, but nobody deigns to lay out, you know, an actual case.

    A lot of you made fun of me for the Sagan quote I cited earlier, but go back and read it again. And then take a look at who is suppressing information and for what purposes.

    Explain, in detail, why the amount of debt that the U.S. has is problematic. Include in your explanation the reasons why that debt exists in the first place and what government debt means and how it differs from private debt. Alternately, shut the hell up about things you do not understand even slightly.

    The US debt exists because we habitually spend more than we collect in taxes. I won’t pretend this problem doesn’t cross partisan lines because it does. Of the two parties Democrats always want to spend more and Republicans always want to tax less – and we end up doing both.

    It’s problematic because it can’t go on forever. And that which cannot go on forever, won’t. There will be financial repercussions – downgraded credit ratings have already happened – leading to even more serious repercussions in the bond market – Greece being the most visible example of what could happen. You can read Krugman and he will tell you everything will be just fine, but in my opinion his liberal partisanship overrides his economic expertise too often for him to be reliable.

    There will also likely be repercussions for our currency – the dollar is currently the standard in many parts of the world but it doesn’t have to be. And while currently and bond market repercussions may not sound too bad to readers not familiar with economics or monetary policy, I can assure you that these are very serious and will have real and lasting effects on the people of the US – the poorest, of course, being the hardest hit.

    The short form is that being factory peons for the developed world doesn’t constitute growing out of the cycle of poverty nor lead to it.

    Now you do some required reading – http://www.policymic.com/articles/9459/minimum-wage-debate-how-sweatshops-are-actually-good-for-the-poor

    Being, as you put it, “factory peons” for the developed world is quite often better than the alternatives in that country. Quite often these “peons” are making more than their peers. And by placing that factory in the country, the developed world is injecting capital into that country – as a result helping it to grow economically.

    In your alternative world, we would close down all these factories, leading to higher unemployment and more poverty in these countries. You may argue that the factory doesn’t have to close down, but unless a company can make a product at a price point that the market will accept, it doesn’t make sense financially for the company to (a) build a factory there in the first place (b) transport the raw materials or (c) transport the finished product to the US or wherever it’s being sold.

    Just for starters, most of the ISPs need to go, or rather be entirely restructured.

    So…you propose a government takeover of the internet. Ok, maybe not the entire internet, just the ISPs but I wonder what world you’re living in if you don’t think that will lead to more and greater government intrusion in the internet. The stuff the NSA has been doing to date will be nothing compared to what it would be capable of doing.

    And here’s the other problem with all of these government solutions leftists keep proposing – what happens in the event a Republican is elected to office? The IRS can screw tea party groups now and it’s all fun and games, but were the power situation reversed I imagine you’d be up in arms.

    Take Obamacare for example – he’s unilaterally delayed enforcement of the law numerous times already. What’s to stop a Republican president from delaying enforcement of the entire law indefinitely? All this centralized power leads to mischief of this sort.

    The reson that most corporations don’t operate this way is that there’s no one at the top siphon off a huge fucking salary, and people who have a shitton of money and want more tend to prefer systems that allow them to grab them.

    I think it is you who needs to learn, not only about economics, but about how the world works. It sounds as if everything you learned about business came from watching “Wolf of Wall Street.”

    Let me get this straight – in your world, someone like Steve Jobs didn’t structure Apple as a co-op only because he wanted to “siphon off a huge fucking salary,” he had a “shitton of money and want[ed] more.” Ok…

    Businesses, military units, non-profits, sports teams, etc., typically have hierarchical management structure because it’s an effective way of leading and managing people. Decisions are made quickly, an organization can shift directions quickly, in response to a change in the market. If Steve Jobs had organized Apple as a co-op, the iPod would likely never have been created (nor the iPhone, iPad, etc.). He alone decided to take the company in this direction, and had he been forced to submit this idea to the rest of the company and get them to vote on it prior to implementation, it likely wouldn’t have passed.

    You have a laughably simplified, cartoonish, and frankly dangerous, view of the marketplace and business. I think you could benefit greatly from some real world experience and expanding your intellectual horizons – read something written by someone you don’t already agree with.

    Last point, then I’m done for the day:

    The reason the fund no longer exists is that people of your politcal stripe raided it in a deliberate effort to sabotage Social Security

    Wrong, wrong, wrong. And I can’t tell if you’re deliberately lying or if you just believe some weird DNC or daily kos story. Here is how the OMB describes the trust fund:

    These [Trust Fund] balances are available to finance future benefit payments and other Trust Fund expenditures – but only in a bookkeeping sense…. They do not consist of real economic assets that can be drawn down in the future to fund benefits. Instead, they are claims on the Treasury that, when redeemed, will have to be financed by raising taxes, borrowing from the public, or reducing benefits or other expenditures.

    The “bookkeeping” is this – money is taken out of your paycheck for social security. As a “pay as you go” system, the SSA pays current benefits to people drawing out of the fund with this money. If there is a surplus, the SSA uses the rest of the money to buy Treasury bonds, which in turn finance current government spending. We’ve been spending the SSA trust fund as fast as the money has come in and when the baby boomers begin retiring en masse, we’ll have a demographic problem of too little people paying into a system where there are too many recipients.

    And neither this nor medicare would be fixed by defense cuts which – by the way – have already happened under the sequester. Unfunded entitlements are going to be a huge problem.

  73. 573
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    Tom J:

    Of the two parties Democrats always want to spend more and Republicans always want to tax less – and we end up doing both.

    Then please explain how government spending, as a percentage of GDP, dropped during the 8 years of the Clinton administration (and the US actually began to pay off the national debt!), and then grew very quickly under W. Bush while also causing the national debt to skyrocket?

    (You will, of course, cherry pick this. Just as you cherry picked me yesterday and then flat out ignored the comments that showed you were/are full of shit.)

  74. 574
    Al Dente

    Ingdigo Jump @564

    You do realize you almost literally just said “Work Will Set You Free?”

    The main gate of the Auschwitz concentration camp.

  75. 575
    Amphiox

    Of the two parties Democrats always want to spend more and Republicans always want to tax less – and we end up doing both.

    If ridiculously shallow platitudes like this are the limit of your political expertise, then the wise and rational thing to do is shut up about the subject, unless you happen to get kicks out of making a fool of yourself.

    What people want and what people actually do are often not identical things. The most fiscally responsible administrations in modern American history have been ones run by moderate democrats. This includes both the State and Federal levels.

    Republican administrations, on the other hand, have a long and proud history of increasing spending massively on certain things like the military. And Reagan increased taxes more than 20 times.

  76. 576
    Ingdigo Jump

    I personally think a gunshot isn’t oppressive as long as the person has the chance and opportunity to duck

  77. 577
    vaiyt

    Furthermore, were high speed rail economically feasible, it would have happened already.

    It is long-term investment, which no private business will ever shoulder because they’re only working for short-term gain.

  78. 578
    Tom J

    I suppose one could argue that since wealth, at its base, is really simply a proxy measure of energy (the ability to do things in the real world), it cannot be either created nor destroyed, merely transformed from a form inaccessible to human individuals to a form that is, and thus government, nor anything else, can “create” wealth.

    This is the flaw in this argument – “the ability [of people] to do things in the real world.”

    This ability is not a constant. The number of people in the world fluctuates, productivity fluctuates, etc.

    It’s also not a constant because, unlike energy, wealth can be created by credit.

    And Amphiox I see you’re still trying to argue that government can create wealth…keep tilting at that windmill. You’re correct up to a point but you still don’t understand why your argument fails. Government creates infrastructure which helps enable others to create wealth. Government gives grants to scientists to study things which may lead to an invention allowing others to create wealth.

    Governments are, by their nature, coercive. Do something the government doesn’t like, you get fined or jailed. Don’t do something the government likes, same deal. You’re not allowed to vote with your feet unless you move to another country.

    Coke changed their formula for the soft drink years ago – people revolted. Coke couldn’t force them to buy the new product, so they changed the formula back. Governments don’t do this. I can’t opt out of Obamacare if I don’t like it. I can’t not pay Social Security taxes.

    Companies succeed and fail all the time. Small business owners start with an idea they’re sure will work and end up getting hit in the face by reality and end up closing their doors. Some succeed beyond their wildest dreams. This is the creative destruction of the market – think of it like evolution. There was no “guiding hand” pushing evolution along, picking winners and losers. Species succeeded or failed on their own merits and adapted in response to this or their environment (please don’t nitpick, I’m making a general point).

    Take Microsoft for example – they may or may not be around in 20-30 years. Sure they’re making money now but they’ve gone downhill lately as tablet sales have eaten into their PC-centric software model. I haven’t looked lately but I don’t think Surface tablet sales are going as well as they would like. 15 years ago they looked like a monopoly and the government actually prosecuted them for some of their practices.

    And those prosecutions were entirely unnecessary because along comes Steve Jobs and Apple to create an entirely new way of computing, by phone and tablet, which started to eat in to Microsoft’s “monopoly”.

    Now if the government were Microsoft, or vice versa, they wouldn’t have allowed this to happen. Laws or regulations would have been passed to prevent the iPhone/ipad/ios suite from being produced. Because a government can’t fail.

    This is the larger point – if a government fails as the USSR did in 1991, serious consequences for the entire nation would follow. Look at Greece, Venezuela, etc., a government failure is far, far more serious than a single company failure. Blackberry almost went out of business a while back, the vultures were circling. Would anyone have cared if they did? At one time they had the lion’s share of the smartphone market, now they’re almost irrelevant, and nobody (except their shareholders maybe) cares.

    And this is how we get progress. Companies trying – and failing – and other companies trying and succeeding.

    Every time I have a discussion similar to this I’m reminded of the old joke about the Soviet Union:

    Its hard to get an automobile in the Soviet Union. It takes an average of 10 years to get a car. 1 out of 7 families owned automobiles. You have to go through a major process and put the money out in advance. So this man did this and the dealer said “okay in 10 years come get your car.”

    “Morning or afternoon?” The man replied.
    “Well what difference does it make?” Said the dealer.
    “The plumber is coming in the morning.”

    If this was Chrysler or Ford, the company would have been out of business long before this man walked into the dealership. Government’s don’t do that except in extraordinary circumstances (like the Soviet Union). This is why they don’t – and shouldn’t – create.

  79. 579
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Government gives grants to scientists to study things which may lead to an invention allowing others to create wealth.

    Government spending creates wealth ignorant asshole preacher. Still not one iota of third party evidence to back up your evidenceless assertions. Which are dismissed without evidence. Losership all around, typical of liberturds

  80. 580
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    This is why they don’t – and shouldn’t – create.

    Non-squitur. You can’t think your way out of a torn wet paper bag with map, gps, and book of clues. Typical of liberturds. Nothing but slogans, without reality checks, just like the communists.

  81. 581
    Maureen Brian

    Tom J,

    Why would I – why would any of us? – waste my time arguing economics with someone who does not understand the difference between a budget deficit and the national debt?

    Besides, your tone is becoming increasingly hysterical and your comments rambling. I would chill if I were you, before you do yourself an injury.

  82. 582
    Nick Gotts

    Tom J.@571

    You’re correct up to a point but you still don’t understand why your argument fails. Government creates infrastructure which helps enable others to create wealth. Government gives grants to scientists to study things which may lead to an invention allowing others to create wealth.

    Stone me, but you’re stupid. Wealth creation is the product of whole societies, and always has been. It makes no sense whatsoever to say that a part of that society which provides essential infrastructure and services doesn’t create wealth, whereas private companies that rely on these things do.

    Governments are, by their nature, coercive. Do something the government doesn’t like, you get fined or jailed. Don’t do something the government likes, same deal. You’re not allowed to vote with your feet unless you move to another country.

    Er, what you’re saying there is that you’re not allowed to vote with your feet – unless you vote with your feet. But you are, in fact, in a democracy, allowed to actually vote – you know, to change the government. And what’s more, everyone, in a fair electoral system, gets an equal chance to affect the outcome – unlike a market, where the rich get millions of times more “votes” than the poor – but I’m forgetting, you’re a libertarian, so you believe the rich should have millions of times more influence than the poor. As for coercion, most people experience a hell of a lot more coercion from their employer than from the government. And no, they can’t all change employer or set up their own business.

    Species succeeded or failed on their own merits and adapted in response to this or their environment (please don’t nitpick, I’m making a general point).

    When your general point is so mind-bendingly stupid, there’s no need to nitpick. Evolution is an enormously inefficient process, and has involved suffering and death on a vast scale – but I’m forgetting, you’re a libertarian, and so don’t give a shit about other people’s suffering and death so long as they don’t affect you personally.

    Look at Greece, Venezuela, etc., a government failure is far, far more serious than a single company failure.

    Here we have a fuckwit who was fast asleep throughout the financial crash. If governments hadn’t intervened, the entire economy would have collapsed – through the recklessness of private companies whose activities had been stupidly deregulated, and that were, in fact, too big to be allowed to fail.

  83. 583
    vaiyt

    Governments are, by their nature, coercive.

    Whereas private enterprises are, by their nature, unaccountable for.

  84. 584
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    Deregulation works wonderfully. Just ask Enron. Or Eastern. Or Pan Am. Or the entire S&L industry. Or the water customers in Charleston, WV. Or Bangladeshi garment workers. Or the people of Bhopal.

    Some of you may die, but that is a risk I’m willing to take.

  85. 585
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    This is the creative destruction of the market – think of it like evolution.

    *checks card… Social Darwinism, social Dar… Yep, there it is*

    BINGO!

  86. 586
    Maureen Brian

    I’m feeling benevolent. Here is Dr Krugman on the distinction – http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/02/opinion/krugman-nobody-understands-debt.html?_r=0

    And do, please, remember that he got his Nobel at a time when his style of economics was believed to be totally irrelevant and out-of date – just before the “prevailing wisdom” went down in flames.

  87. 587
    Ingdigo Jump

    *checks card… Social Darwinism, social Dar… Yep, there it is*

    BINGO!

    Here I would have thought that “Work Will Set You Free” was in error rather than part of a collection.

  88. 588
    Amphiox

    If this was Chrysler or Ford, the company would have been out of business long before this man walked into the dealership. Government’s don’t do that except in extraordinary circumstances (like the Soviet Union). This is why they don’t – and shouldn’t – create.

    The only thing this magnificently muddled argument demonstrates is that the market DESTROYS.

    It doesn’t actually say ANYTHING whatsoever about whether or not government can or can not create.

    Governments are, by their nature, coercive.

    So, in fact, is private enterprise. So, in fact, are ALL human social constructs.

    Look at Greece, Venezuela, etc., a government failure is far, far more serious than a single company failure.

    One need only look at the last financial crisis to see indisputable evidence that the failures in Greece and Venezuela were far, far, far, far LESS serious than the failure of a single large multinational corporation.

    Species succeeded or failed on their own merits and adapted in response to this or their environment (please don’t nitpick, I’m making a general point).

    For every species that succeeded, MILLIONS failed. To produce a single entity more capable than a slime mould took 3.5 BILLION years. 95% of what evolution produces is ludicrously flawed in one way or another, and only works “just good enough” to get by.

    Evolution works the way it works because it has no intelligence, no brain, no heart, no will, no memory.

    Human beings, on the other hand, DO have intelligence, brains, hearts, wills, memories. And you think throwing all that away and mimicing a stupid mindless process is a good idea?

    Ever heard of the naturalistic fallacy?

    Well, you certainly have made a “general” point. That point being that a libertarian ideology that tries to mimic natural evolution is precisely NOT what human beings possessing of brains should be doing with their economies.

  89. 589
    vaiyt

    Some of you may die, but that is a risk I’m willing to take.

    That’s a good summation of Libertarian mentality. “I want to dream I’m going to be one of the 1%, so fuck everyone else! Go them (which, of course, means me)!”

    This is the creative destruction of the market – think of it like evolution.

    You mean, the process that’s remarkably inneficient, requires millions of duds for every success, depends heavily on random chance and lots of time, and finally can only be carried out with a massive cost in life? You do realize that’s not a positive thing, right?

  90. 590
    vaiyt

    *inefficient

  91. 591
    Amphiox

    And of course, the thing about that joke about the old Soviet Union is that it is a JOKE.

    As in, it ISN’T TRUE.

    It was a FANTASY CARICATURE (and a supremely bigoted one at that) invented by the Soviet Union’s POLITICAL ENEMIES.

    And speaking of Greece and Venezuela (note the subtle but increasingly more overtly racist vibe to Tom J’s continued wankings here….), those economies did not fail in isolation, and those failures were not entirely the fault of government. The PRIVATE sectors were at least as responsible in both those cases, and the triggering event for both of them arose out of the GLOBAL, MARKET-driven economy.

  92. 592
    Amphiox

    You mean, the process that’s remarkably inefficient, requires millions of duds for every success, depends heavily on random chance and lots of time, and finally can only be carried out with a massive cost in life? You do realize that’s not a positive thing, right?

    The datapoint of the results and outcomes of biological evolution is just one of the many, many, many already existing pieces of evidence that demonstrate just how bad an ideology libertarianism is.

  93. 593
    a_ray_in_dilbert_space

    Tom J.,
    A climate change denier is someone who denies the copious research demonstrating not just the reality of anthropogenic causation, but also the likely harms that will arise from it. Cato definitely qualifies, as does CEI, Heartland and all the other Kochsuckers out there.

  94. 594
    Tom J

    Maureen -

    Why would I – why would any of us? – waste my time arguing economics with someone who does not understand the difference between a budget deficit and the national debt?

    I was asked a question about debt, not deficits, and I answered accordingly. The US national debt, as of today, is here: http://www.brillig.com/debt_clock/

    4.3 Trillion of that has been run up in the Obama era, and I’m charitably not counting FY2009, over which he presided for 9 mos.

    As for being hysterical – I’ve yet to call anyone a name, and unlike Amphiox I don’t feel the need to PUNCTUATE MY COMMENTS WITH ALL CAPS. In fact I feel I’ve been very calm and rational, unlike many others.

  95. 595
    Maureen Brian

    And in your answer to “a question about debt” you talked about deficits. In a very confused way.

    Q.E.D.

  96. 596
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    The biggest deficits fuckwit come under your rethug presidents, Reagan and Shrub, compared to Clinton and Obama. The latter of which is stuck with Shrubs Asian/Middle East adventures which unnecessarily increased his expenditures.

  97. 597
    Dalillama, Schmott Guy

    Tom J #565

    No, you haven’t. You’ve asserted a political opinion that this is true, but have cited no scholarly evidence to support this claim.

    I gave you more than enough information to find the references for yourself trivially easily.
    If you prefer your citations in scholarly format:
    Keister, Lisa A. Wealth in America: Trends in wealth inequality. Cambridge University Press, 2000.
    Dew-Becker, Ian, and Robert J. Gordon. Where did the productivity growth go? Inflation dynamics and the distribution of income. No. w11842. National Bureau of Economic Research, 2005.
    Enjoy. When you’ve read and understood those, then come back and we can discuss some more.

    I espouse libertarian views and cite the Cato think tank so I can – for these facts alone – be immediately dismissed

    In the same way and for the same reason that if you had come here espousing creationist views and citing the Discovery Institute think tank: because we’ve seen and debunked them so many times that it’s become tedious to deal with each new idiot who thinks they’ve got a brand new killer theological move that we’ve never seen before. Except that we have seen them before, over and over and over and over and over again, and they never fucking change. You’re not the first nor the hundredth blatherskite to barrage us with broadsides of buzzwords.

    The US debt exists because we habitually spend more than we collect in taxes.

    OHHH! Fallen at the first post, I’m afraid. Government debt, like business debt (and some personal debt) occurs when a project needs a large amount of capital upfront with a relatively small periodic return, so long as the projected return is above the interest on the loan. In the case of government, this include things like the aforementioned dams, roads, rails, etc. which are never paid for out of existing funds but are bought on credit and amortized over years, paying off in the increased tax revenue generated from the increased economic activity enabled by the infrastructure thus created. (Businesses generally do it for capital investments: new buildings, improved physical plant and such like).

    It’s problematic because it can’t go on forever.

    Except that it pretty much can go on indefinitely; so long as the infrastructure is paying off, the debt is being serviced and there’s a net economic gain (although stupid taxation policies in the U.S. have prevented as much of that economic gain as should going to the government, plus the wars that assholes keep borrowing money for don’t pay back at all, and are really shitty investments.)Indeed, there has never been a time when the U.S. government was not in debt, and in fact I challenge you to name a government that wasn’t in debt. Ever. Anywhere. Go for it.

    downgraded credit ratings have already happened

    They happened because the Teabaggers in Congress threw a tantrum and declared that the U.S. wouldn’t honor its debts anymore; that’s entirely on your side of the fence. They were able to do that because of the absurd fact that a hard, arbitrarily set ‘debt limit’ exists in the first place (I challenge you to show another government with one of those, either).

    Being, as you put it, “factory peons” for the developed world is quite often better than the alternatives in that country.

    Yeah, that’s why there’s no barbed wire and armed guards keeping them there.

    And by placing that factory in the country, the developed world is injecting capital into that country – as a result helping it to grow economically.

    This is another one of those places where you ignore facts to fit your simplistic veiw; the owners of the factories are getting money, but it is not ‘trickling down’ to the workers. The countries are getting no infrastructure, no tax revenue, no education, no technology transfer, and in fact no real benefits whatsoever.
    Check:
    Chang, Ha-Joon. The political economy of industrial policy. London: Macmillan, 1994.
    Chang, Ha-Joon. Kicking away the ladder: development strategy in historical perspective. Anthem Press, 2002.
    Louie, Miriam Ching Yoon. Sweatshop warriors: Immigrant women workers take on the global factory. South End Press, 2001.

    You may argue that the factory doesn’t have to close down,

    Back you your blind spot about how there must be a hierarchy so the natural aristocracy can order around their lessers if anything is ever to get done anywhere.
    Just allowing the workers to keep it, and produce and sell to their fellow countryfolk, might, just might, be a viable thing to do. Asshole.

    So…you propose a government takeover of the internet

    Are you reading the words that I’m writing, or the words in your head? I said that the fiber, the actual physical infrastructure of the internet, should be owned and maintained by the government (the majority of it was already built by the government, but there’s not near enough of it). ISPs would continue to lease capacity the same way most of them do now, although a minimal level of service (bare connectivity, no email address, web storage, hosting or any of that jazz) should be standard in any occupied building.

    Take Obamacare for example – he’s unilaterally delayed enforcement of the law numerous times already

    What the living fuck are you talking about? Seriously, I have no fucking clue.

    Let me get this straight – in your world, someone like Steve Jobs didn’t structure Apple as a co-op only because he wanted to “siphon off a huge fucking salary,” he had a “shitton of money and want[ed] more.

    That is correct. As evidence, Steve Wozniak (the technical mind behind the beginning of Apple computers) is now teaching high school math on a civil service salary, because he was more interested in worthwhile accomplishments than money.

    because it’s an effective way of leading and managing people.

    1) ‘An’ is not the same as ‘the’
    2) ‘effective’ is not the same thing as ‘efficient’ or even ‘well designed’; it is a much, much lower bar.
    A flamethrower is an effective way to deal with a rodent infestation, in that it will kill the great majority of the rodents. It is far from the best way, though.

    If Steve Jobs had organized Apple as a co-op, the iPod would likely never have been created (nor the iPhone, iPad, etc.).

    A) Citation needed
    B) Who the fuck cares? They aren’t notably magical, and Jobs didn’t magically invent the idea of a pda that makes phone calls or a portable music player using the latest recording technology.

    And neither this nor medicare would be fixed by defense cuts which – by the way – have already happened under the sequester

    .
    Oh wait, you’re serious, let me laugh even harder. The fact that military spending is increasing less this year than it did last year is not the same thing as a cut. When I talk about cutting it to reasonable levels, I mean withdrawing from all foreign bases, mothballing the entire carrier fleet, and overall cutting military spending by 75-85%, possibly more.

    Unfunded entitlements are going to be a huge problem.

    .
    Only if we don’t, you know, fund them. It doesn’t take black magic, just an act of Congress.
    #571

    wealth can be created by credit

    .
    What the hell definition of wealth are you using, anyway? You insist that government can’t create wealth but that issuing credit can? Where do you think money comes from, exactly? That question actually covers your next couple paragraphs from this post. What the hell do you mean when you say wealth?

    Coke couldn’t force them to buy the new product, so they changed the formula back

    .
    No, they didn’t. The old formula used cane sugar; the new ‘classic’ formula uses HCFS. There is a significant difference in taste and mouthfeel. I would also point out that the ‘revolt’ was only even theoretically possible because Coke is not an essential product, and people had other soda choices. If the power company decides to raise the rates, how am I supposed to ‘revolt’? Go to a different power company? Except that, you know, there isn’t one operating in my area. Oops!

    I can’t opt out of Obamacare if I don’t like it. I can’t not pay Social Security taxes.

    .
    Sure you can. Vote with your feet. Fuck off to somewhere that fits your pathetic ‘principles’ better. I hear Somalia’s nice this time of year.

    Your stupid little parable is not worth responding to. Until you present a detailed, real world case for yourself, shut the fuck up.
    Nerd #573

    Nothing but slogans, without reality checks, just like the communists

    .
    How about you address the evidence I posted in the ‘Dome and the model I proposed in #495 of this thread, or knock it off with this shite, hey Nerd?
    A_Ray

    Kochsuckers

    .
    Don’t do this.

  98. 598
    chigau (違う)

    In fact I feel I’ve been very calm and rational, unlike many others.

    That statement is on the Bingo card, isn’t it?

  99. 599
    Tom J

    Nick -

    Stone me, but you’re stupid. Wealth creation is the product of whole societies, and always has been. It makes no sense whatsoever to say that a part of that society which provides essential infrastructure and services doesn’t create wealth, whereas private companies that rely on these things do.

    I never said wealth creation wasn’t the product of whole societies. And I’ve consistently noted that infrastructure is important in enabling others to more efficiently trade goods and services.

    you are, in fact, in a democracy, allowed to actually vote – you know, to change the government. And what’s more, everyone, in a fair electoral system, gets an equal chance to affect the outcome – unlike a market, where the rich get millions of times more “votes” than the poor

    You’re exactly backwards in your characterization of both the government and the market.

    Read through the quote I cited from a CEO a while back that focused on cronyism. The President calls influential business leaders for meetings from time to time, but unless it’s an election coming up I don’t recall reading too many instances where he called up Average Joe for a chat about economic policy. He does this because money = influence (the left rails about this all the time). Except what successful business leaders want to do is limit their competition in order to retain market share, and therefore they lobby for regulations which protect their businesses. This is where the rich get “a million times more votes than the poor”, if that’s measured in influence not actual votes.

    Consumers can and very often do vote with their feet. Look back at the Coke example I wrote about – consumers revolted, and they had a viable alternative in Pepsi. So Coke switched back. This is the essence of the marketplace, if a company does something the consumer doesn’t like, the consumer doesn’t buy that company’s products. Wal-Mart is a perfect example of this. Lots of people like it because they provide goods a lower prices. Other people don’t like it because of their labor practices, and as a result don’t shop there (to date the former group has outpaced the latter, which is why Wal-Mart stays competitive).

    What amazes me is that progressives don’t understand (or want to understand) this dynamic. By centralizing more and more power in Washington, you grow and perpetuate the system whereby power and influence are concentrated into the hands of the richest few. If you want people to have more power, the worst thing you can do is centralize more power in Washington.

    you’re a libertarian, and so don’t give a shit about other people’s suffering and death so long as they don’t affect you personally.

    And Maureen thinks I’m hysterical…

    Defining “care” as agreeing with your personal political views may be an effective political gambit if you’re trying to get low-information voters to side with you, but it’s not an argument. In fact its an attempt to silence someone else’s argument, which usually happens when you have no effective rebuttal.

    I suppose you’re right, evolution is an enormously inefficient process when compared to, say, intelligent design. But lacking the guiding hand of a omnipotent creator, evolution did pretty well.

    Omnipotence is the key – there wasn’t a being possessing this knowledge to guide the evolutionary process and there isn’t one alive today to guide the market-based processes at work. See this for a good primer: http://www.econlib.org/library/Essays/rdPncl1.html

    If governments hadn’t intervened, the entire economy would have collapsed – through the recklessness of private companies whose activities had been stupidly deregulated, and that were, in fact, too big to be allowed to fail.

    You’re making several arguments, none of which have been proven.

    “the entire economy would have collapsed” – perhaps, the counterfactual is impossible to know. Or, if we had let more banks fail and not bailed them out, the resultant “recovery” (if that’s what you can call the last few years) may have been more robust and sustainable.

    “the recklessness of private companies” – no doubt there was some recklessness, however you can’t entirely lay it at the feet of private companies. The federal government played a large role in distorting the real estate market to the point where low income families were able to purchase houses that would have been way beyond their means under normal market conditions.

    “too big to be allowed to fail” – is a value judgement (at what size is that exactly?) Also, if you’re waxing nostalgic that these banks didn’t fail, you’ll note that the regulations passed shortly after the crisis in all likelihood institutionalized this practice were something like it ever to happen again. Read up on regulatory capture and tell me again why the rich have more influence than the poor and how you expect to combat it…

  100. 600
    Maureen Brian

    Didn’t we just have Apple held up to us as a shining example of the bullshit-on-wheels being preached. Now look what the new CEO has done since 2011 and how he won his point in the vote – http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/news/apples-tim-cook-business-isnt-just-about-making-a-profit-9163931.html

    Do keep up!

  101. 601
    Tom J

    Dalillama -

    We’re running around in circles on all these other issues, so I’ll cut to the heart of what I think your problem is:

    In the same way and for the same reason that if you had come here espousing creationist views and citing the Discovery Institute think tank: because we’ve seen and debunked them so many times

    Debunking a creationist viewpoint with science can be done. They make concrete claims about evolution, the age of the earth, etc., which science can answer (and has).

    We’re arguing politics and economics, neither of which are hard sciences. Politics is almost entirely about value judgements, which can not be measured in a laboratory or seen through an electron microscope. Economics is somewhere in between – how would one go about producing a double-blind study on the Eurozone crisis for example?

    It’s not possible to debunk libertarianism, just as it’s not possible to debunk communism, or conservatism, or liberalism, or any of the other -isms. If you’re politically inclined one way or another you tend to see that side’s virtues and forgive its vices.

    If you want to live in a country where the entire naval fleet is mothballed and defense spending is cut 85%, I can’t debunk that belief. I can point out it’s many flaws and the likely repercussions. You, on the other hand, will point out your plan’s virtues and minimize it’s flaws. And we’ll see how many people we persuade. But you can’t, with scientific certainty, maintain that your value judgement is the correct one because that is not a thing science can measure.

    I would rather live in a country that adheres more closely to the principles espoused by the US founding fathers. That’s my value judgement. And there’s no way you can debunk that value judgment. You can point out its flaws (and I might even agree with some of them).

    We can go on down the line – immigration, drug policy, abortion, gay rights, climate change, etc., and likely we’ll agree on some and disagree on others but the one thing you can never do is claim the science is on your side in a debate over value judgements. I often hear the argument when talking with progressives that “facts skew left,” which is of course absolute nonsense. Facts are what they are, what people choose to do with those facts entails value judgements.

    So, please, do yourself a favor and disabuse yourself of the notion that you have the scientifically proven one true path to knowledge in all political or economic debates. Because you don’t. Nobody does.

  102. 602
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    I am becoming heartily sick of the sight of the phrase “value judgement.”

    Not being able to pay the rent, buy food, get medical treatment, turn the heating on in mid-winter; not having a home, let alone a heater—these are not value judgements. They are observed, empirical facts of all too many people’s lives.

  103. 603
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    And Maureen thinks I’m hysterical…

    You are. Your “points” and idiotology are comedy.

  104. 604
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    I would rather live in a country

    Who gives a shit what YOU prefer, given you are nothing but idiologist? Your alleged desires don’t represent anything cogent to anybody who goes beyond slogans. Our desires trump yours every day of the week, since they cogent, in context, have empathy, and are realistic.

  105. 605
    Amphiox

    I would rather live in a country that adheres more closely to the principles espoused by the US founding fathers. That’s my value judgement.

    And yet the ideology you support is utterly antithetical to at least half of those principles as espoused by those founding fathers.

    And actively thwarts the other half.

    ALL men are created equal. Not just the wealthy ones.

    So, please, do yourself a favor and disabuse yourself of the notion that you have the scientifically proven one true path to knowledge in all political or economic debates.

    YOU are the only one on this forum who has been behaving and posting as if you believe that.

  106. 606
    Dalillama, Schmott Guy

    Shorter Tom J:
    We use the same data, we just interpret it differently.

  107. 607
    Amphiox

    I can’t opt out of Obamacare if I don’t like it. I can’t not pay Social Security taxes.

    Yes you can. At the very least, you can engage in civil disobedience. And I can assure that the negative consequences for doing that, be it fines or jail, will be far LESS unfavorable to you than the negative consequences that those who are left without any freedom choice thanks to being unable to make a living wage if *they* tried to opt out of the sub-subsistence salaried jobs they are trapped in, to go “shop their labor to another employer” as you, in your pathetic dishonesty, tried to claim that they could do.

  108. 608
    doublereed

    We can go on down the line – immigration, drug policy, abortion, gay rights, climate change, etc., and likely we’ll agree on some and disagree on others but the one thing you can never do is claim the science is on your side in a debate over value judgements. I often hear the argument when talking with progressives that “facts skew left,” which is of course absolute nonsense. Facts are what they are, what people choose to do with those facts entails value judgements.

    Uhh… if the right wing makes statements about reality that are untrue (like your complete lack of knowledge about the basic economic concept of an externality), then science is on the other side.

    Libertarianism is entirely based on ideology as opposed to pragmatism. It’s based on lofty platitudes and nothing else. If you put some libertarian thing into practice, and it failed miserably, you can’t adjust your viewpoint. There’s nothing that can change, because you are not basing your values on real world events, but theoretical constructs.

    Human rights are practical things, not magical theoretical things. If a corporation poisons the water supply and kills a bunch of people, then that hurts human rights because humans are dead. You don’t get points for upholding the freedoms of corporations.

    If you’re not basing your ideology on the real world, then don’t apply it to the real world.

  109. 609
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Problem for Tom J’s job moving: 3.6 million unemployed, plus 2.6 million given up on looking for a job. At best 200,000 jobs open per month (From DoL BLS, cited above). Tom J can’t do the math, being an idiotologist, as the numbers show he is WRONG.

  110. 610
    zenlike

    The laughably (or misleadingly?) misnamed “Progressive Policy Institute” appears to be a “Third Way” think tank. Hardly progressive or leftwing (think Tony Blair).

    565 Tom J

    No, you haven’t. You’ve asserted a political opinion that this is true, but have cited no scholarly evidence to support this claim.

    You also haven’t cited any scholarly research, but don’t let that spoil your party.

    The language here is interesting and typical of political partisans who try to sway low-information voters.

    Projection. And I’m sorry to say, but you are a part of those low-information voters.

    Someone not familiar with the subject or not familiar with Cato’s views on the subject might see your blanket characterization and think “Cato must be science-deniers,” when in fact it’s you who are lying about their position for purely political purposes.

    Bullshit, Cato has been denying science for a long time, when it serves their industrial interests.

    I cite uncomfortable statistics and everybody tells me they’re wrong, but nobody deigns to lay out, you know, an actual case.

    You cite a bullshit study with very skewed statistics, and when called out on it wave any commentary away.

    One way that’s clear? In their ‘freedom index’, some regulations count in favour, others not. So some indicators give a higher freedom when there is more regulation, while other indicators actually give lower freedom when there is more regulation. Why has Cato made that particular judgement? They don’t really explain, but it couldn’t be because they pick and chose what would give their desired results, could it? Of course not because they are totally not 100% owned by moneyed industry interests.

    I still don’t know if you are dishonest, or merely an idiot.

  111. 611
    Amphiox

    We’re arguing politics and economics, neither of which are hard sciences.

    There are more sciences and just the hard sciences.

    Politics is almost entirely about value judgements

    No it is not. You really should refrain from pontificating about subjects which you so evidently know nothing about.

    which can not be measured in a laboratory or seen through an electron microscope

    There is more to science or observation that what can be measured in laboratories or seen through electron microscopes.

    Economics is somewhere in between – how would one go about producing a double-blind study on the Eurozone crisis for example?

    There are more ways of examining the world than just double-blind studies. You know what OTHER fields of study often CANNOT (and should not) do double-blind studies?

    Physics.

    Chemistry.

    Biology.

    Astronomy.

    Paleontology.

    Archeology.

    These three aren’t “hard” sciences, then, to you?

  112. 612
    Tom J

    Amphiox -

    And yet the ideology you support is utterly antithetical to at least half of those principles as espoused by those founding fathers. And actively thwarts the other half. ALL men are created equal. Not just the wealthy ones.

    You’re either unintentionally or deliberately misreading my comments. Nothing I have said violates the principle that all men are created equal – unless you construe equality to mean equality of outcomes, not of opportunity, which is not what Madison had in mind.

    YOU are the only one on this forum who has been behaving and posting as if you believe that.

    All I have done is offer evidence to support my assertions. People, including you, have tried to attack this evidence, and the closest they’ve come is “economic freedom” isn’t well defined and per capita GDP is not a good way to measure wealth.

    A few people have come close to saying, “you have a point, but I choose economic security over prosperity” or “I feel more comfortable with a larger government role in economics.” I have no argument to this, it’s a value judgement. Perhaps many people have, just didn’t choose to post a comment to that effect.

    And all of this is the reason why politics and skepticism are so hard to merge – people like you and Dalillama and others don’t just step across the line between facts and value judgements, you drive a Mack truck across it.

    Which is why you feel comfortable saying “the ideology you support is utterly antithetical to at least half of those principles as espoused by those founding fathers.” There are all sorts of your own value judgments wrapped up into that one sentence – about what the founding fathers said, about what libertarianism says, and about what you believe.

    I suspect you don’t actually know or talk with too many people who don’t agree with you politically. You should probably give it a try, I think you’d be surprised by what you find out.

  113. 613
    Tom J

    Tom J -

    Politics is almost entirely about value judgements

    Amphiox -

    No it is not.

    Please support this assertion. Feel free to use any of the issues in the latest Rasmussen poll:

    http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/mood_of_america/importance_of_issues

  114. 614
    doublereed

    You’re either unintentionally or deliberately misreading my comments. Nothing I have said violates the principle that all men are created equal – unless you construe equality to mean equality of outcomes, not of opportunity, which is not what Madison had in mind.

    Libertarianism is directly against equality of opportunity. I really have no idea what you’re talking about at this point. The “equality of opportunity not equality of outcomes” as far as I can see is just a way that libertarians dismiss all evidence and concerns that Libertarian policies increase inequality. All with a hefty ladle of implied racism and sexism.

    Public schools, Public Universities, Public Services, the Social Safety Net are all part of ensuring that people have equal opportunities for things. Anti-Discrimination Laws, on the other hand, are directly antithetical to libertarianism, and yet it’s all about ensuring equality of opportunity. The only way you could possibly believe that Libertarianism grants equality of opportunity is if you are completely privilege-blind and completely ignore all real-world evidence.

    Which describes Libertarianism pretty well, now that I think about it.

  115. 615
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Tom J, the author Robert Heinlein has a famous quote. “In a democracy, and you don’t have time to make an informed choice, find a “well meaning fool”, and listen to them. Then vote for the opposite.” You, Tom J., are the “well meaning fool”, and we didn’t have to find you. You showed your fuckwitted idiotology here. So we all know how to vote. Against everything you said, since it was nothing but unrealistic sloganeering. So I will vote for the most progressive candidates in the upcoming primary election, and in the general election in the fall. Not one of those candidates will be espousing liberturd idiotology, since that is your preference…

  116. 616
    Maureen Brian

    Nooooo, Tom,

    We did, various of us, point out that economic freedom is ill-defined in the report and also that, chameleon-like, it seems to change its meaning from page to page.

    We also – which day was it? – pointed out that your report paid no attention to health outcome ( life-expetancy, morbidity, chronic illness, that sort of thing) and when you were shown the WHO statistics on this very subject you took not a blind bit of notice.

    Then you and I, Tom, spent several hours on why there was no mention at all on the operation of the labour market. Do you not remember that? For the vast majority of us whether there are jobs, whether we can get one of them and whether we can move on to a better one constitute the single most important aspect of “economic freedom” we experience in our whole lives. Cato seems to be blissfully unaware of that fact.

  117. 617
    Amphiox

    You’re either unintentionally or deliberately misreading my comments. Nothing I have said violates the principle that all men are created equal – unless you construe equality to mean equality of outcomes, not of opportunity, which is not what Madison had in mind.

    I’ve ALREADY EXPLAINED in detail how your libertarian ideology completely destroys equality of OPPORTUNITY.

    Only the most intellectually dishonest weasel could have posted the above statement of yours with a straight face.

  118. 618
    Tom J

    doublereed -

    Uhh… if the right wing makes statements about reality that are untrue (like your complete lack of knowledge about the basic economic concept of an externality), then science is on the other side.

    So if I don’t choose to value the effect of externalities as much as you do, or suggest that market forces will correct many externalities without need for government intervention, that in your mind suggests a complete lack of knowledge of the concept? Touche.

    What happens when the left wing makes statements about reality that are untrue? Right, I’m sorry…that never happens.

    Final thing – I don’t know your views well enough to conclude that you are an ideologue, but you certainly cannot make the case that progressivism as a whole is NOT an ideology and is based entirely on pragmatism.

    What if the IPPC comes out tomorrow and says “Hey, we were wrong, this climate change thing won’t really harm us”? Would the left drop its objection to carbon emissions standards and fossil fuels and its commitments to renewable energy? Not likely, because a byproduct of all of these things is more power concentrated in the hands of the rich elite in Washington (and Brussels).

    That other people are “blinded by ideology” is another debating tactic of many political partisans who claim they’re just “following the evidence.” In fact ideologies are likely entirely natural processes that help humans process information about the world. But to suggest that one end of the political spectrum doesn’t subscribe to one while the other side is blinded by their own is the height of dishonesty.

  119. 619
    Amphiox

    This equality of “outcome” vs “opportunity” twaddle of course is just another way of blaming the victim. Implying that all those with a bad outcome have it merely because they did not take the opportunity. It is just another way of saying “takers”, and “welfare queen”, and “47%”.

  120. 620
    Amphiox

    What if the IPPC comes out tomorrow and says “Hey, we were wrong, this climate change thing won’t really harm us”? Would the left drop its objection to carbon emissions standards and fossil fuels and its commitments to renewable energy? Not likely,

    And what is your evidence for making this SLANDEROUS claim?

  121. 621
    Amphiox

    Please support this assertion. Feel free to use any of the issues in the latest Rasmussen poll:

    Your ignorance is pathetic. Trying to claim that how people feel about issues are all there are to politics is like trying to claim that bricks are all there is to construction.

  122. 622
    anteprepro

    What if the IPPC comes out tomorrow and says “Hey, we were wrong, this climate change thing won’t really harm us”? Would the left drop its objection to carbon emissions standards and fossil fuels and its commitments to renewable energy? Not likely, because a byproduct of all of these things is more power concentrated in the hands of the rich elite in Washington (and Brussels).

    Yeah, left wingers are the ones who want more power in the hands of the elite. Left wingers have just as little regard for facts and science as right-wingers. Sure. Whatever helps you sleep at night, you pig ignorant fuck.

  123. 623
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    What if the IPPC comes out tomorrow and says “Hey, we were wrong, this climate change thing won’t really harm us”? Would the left drop its objection to carbon emissions standards and fossil fuels and its commitments to renewable energy? Not likely

    Fossil fuels would still not be an infinite resource. But yeah, I love big-engined cars and bikes, falling asleep over a book without disturbing myself to turn the light off, leaving the heating on so it’ll be cosy-warm when I get home and heaps of other things that use power wastefully. Show me a way to have these things without ruining the environment etc, and damn right I’ll drop my objections.
    </really silly analogy>

  124. 624
    Tom J

    doublered -

    Public schools, Public Universities, Public Services, the Social Safety Net are all part of ensuring that people have equal opportunities for things. Anti-Discrimination Laws, on the other hand, are directly antithetical to libertarianism, and yet it’s all about ensuring equality of opportunity. The only way you could possibly believe that Libertarianism grants equality of opportunity is if you are completely privilege-blind and completely ignore all real-world evidence.

    If you were in my high school class I’d give you an F. Read through this page please:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All_men_are_created_equal

    Schools, services, and the safety net have nothing to do with equality as it would have been defined in 1776. Progressives have attempted to redefine these concepts to mean you can’t have freedom of opportunity without X, and the X constantly changes.

    This line – “anti-discrimination laws, on the other hand, are directly antithetical to libertarianism” is a distortion of the truth – libertarianism dislikes most government intrusions into the private sector unless there is a sufficient limiting principle. Here is a good treatment:

    http://www.cato-unbound.org/2010/06/16/david-e-bernstein/context-matters-better-libertarian-approach-antidiscrimination-law

    Consistent with their classical liberal heritage, libertarians believe that the government must treat all its citizens as individuals with equal rights, and therefore may not discriminate on arbitrary grounds, like race. The government must also apply its laws fairly and impartially, including by protecting members of unpopular minority groups from private violence…The laudable goal of the ever-broadening antidiscrimination edifice is to achieve a fairer, more just society. Laudable goals, however, don’t justify giving the government excessive authority, or disguising the implications of doing so. I’m reminded of the “Sexual Harassment Panda” episode of South Park. Kyle’s father explains that antidiscrimination law tells us what we can say and do in the workplace and elsewhere. Kyle responds, “But isn’t that fascism?” His father retorts, “No, because we don’t call it fascism.”

  125. 625
    anteprepro

    Politics is just, like, YOUR opinion, man.

    Because no one ever tries to back up their political opinions with facts, logic, or arguments! Nosiree. All just opinions, all the way down. Opinions that have no measurable consequences if implemented in actual government policies! It’s just a mystery! And every opinion is as good as every other opinion! Can’t we all just agree that no one has any correct idea about anything whatsoever and live in harmony? Can’t we just give up on facts and correctness and human welfare, and just choose our policies by lottery or roulette wheel?

  126. 626
    doublereed

    So if I don’t choose to value the effect of externalities as much as you do, or suggest that market forces will correct many externalities without need for government intervention, that in your mind suggests a complete lack of knowledge of the concept? Touche.

    The fuck are you talking about? The “value of externalities” for the most part is measured in dollars.

    And by saying that, I think it’s pretty obvious you have a complete lack of knowledge of the concept.

    Final thing – I don’t know your views well enough to conclude that you are an ideologue, but you certainly cannot make the case that progressivism as a whole is NOT an ideology and is based entirely on pragmatism.

    I don’t care. The question is not “what ideology should I follow?” The question is matter of “what do we need?” “what are the problems we’re facing?” “how do we fix things?” That’s all that matters.

    The fact that you’re putting things in terms of ideologies clashing is just weird.

  127. 627
    David Marjanović

    Dalillama, each and every one of your links ends in a formatted quotation mark. Please do something about that. Are you using a word processor or something?

    It’s problematic because it can’t go on forever. And that which cannot go on forever, won’t. There will be financial repercussions – downgraded credit ratings have already happened – leading to even more serious repercussions in the bond market – Greece being the most visible example of what could happen.

    The US is deeper in the hole than Greece. The difference, as I said, is that the US doesn’t have the ECB and Merkel breathing down its neck.

    …Oh, sorry, I forgot you’ve completely ignored all of my comments. No wonder you don’t know what I’ve written.

    And of course, the thing about that joke about the old Soviet Union is that it is a JOKE.

    As in, it ISN’T TRUE.

    It was a FANTASY CARICATURE (and a supremely bigoted one at that) invented by the Soviet Union’s POLITICAL ENEMIES.

    You did have to wait for years for a car in the USSR and in East Germany.

    In fact I feel I’ve been very calm and rational, unlike many others.

    LOL. You’ve been calm, yes. But rational? You’ve been deeply deluded throughout.

    There’s the old saying “if you’re not outraged, you haven’t been paying attention”. It’s… true. :-)

    Wal-Mart is a perfect example of this. Lots of people like it because they provide goods a lower prices. Other people don’t like it because of their labor practices, and as a result don’t shop there (to date the former group has outpaced the latter, which is why Wal-Mart stays competitive).

    I don’t think I was the first to point out that Wal-Mart has a monopoly in many places in the US. “Competitive” doesn’t even apply there.

    All I have done is offer evidence to support my assertions. People, including you, have tried to attack this evidence, and the closest they’ve come is “economic freedom” isn’t well defined and per capita GDP is not a good way to measure wealth.

    …and you somehow pretend that these two facts don’t completely trounce your assertion.

    I don’t get it.

  128. 628
    Maureen Brian

    I put up this letter from todays’s (Monday’s) Guardian because it is relevant if parochial. Mainly though for its quite brilliant final sentence.

    It is pointless to argue with Iain Duncan Smith about his egregious and unscientific views about defining and combating poverty (Treasury blocks Duncan Smith plans for child poverty targets, 27 February). But it can’t be repeated often enough that any characteristic he and George Osborne claim causes poverty such as “worklessness, family breakdown, educational failure, addiction, or debt” and which fails to cause it to individuals and families such as those of the unhappy Duke and Duchess of York and the unfortunate Hans Kristian Rausing (the Tetra Pak heir) and a great many other people right across the income spectrum, cannot be taken seriously as social analysis. These “black swans” expose these politicians’ fixed beliefs as worth no more than beliefs about creationism or a flat Earth.

    If these two Conservative politicians were serious that “This is such an important issue – it is vitally important that we take the time to get it right. We have seen how the wrong measures based on inadequate data and simplistic analysis drive misguided and ineffective policy”, then they would follow the recommendations of the Commons select committee on integrated child credit in 2001 to fund an expert committee to review the range of methods available and advise the government of the day. Politicians are not, as such, qualified to make such judgments, though it is a well-known but widely shared illusion that, in the absence of study and comprehension, great political power, like excess alcohol, brings scientific competence.
    Professor John Veit-Wilson
    Newcastle University

    The university’s publication list for him is here – http://www.ncl.ac.uk/gps/staff/profile/john.veit-wilson#tab_publications

  129. 629
    anteprepro

    Schools, services, and the safety net have nothing to do with equality as it would have been defined in 1776. Progressives have attempted to redefine these concepts to mean you can’t have freedom of opportunity without X, and the X constantly changes.

    Boo-friggity-hoo. They also didn’t think blacks and women counted either. Want to continue crying about the arbitrariness of change on that front too?

    This line – “anti-discrimination laws, on the other hand, are directly antithetical to libertarianism” is a distortion of the truth – libertarianism dislikes most government intrusions into the private sector unless there is a sufficient limiting principle.

    “Distortion of the truth” doesn’t mean “true, but inconvenient for me to acknowledge”.

    And citing the Cato Institution that is citing South Park? That’s like lame glibertarian inception right thar.

  130. 630
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    So if I don’t choose to value the effect of externalities as much as you do, or suggest that market forces will correct many externalities without need for government intervention, that in your mind suggests a complete lack of knowledge of the concept?

    Well yes. Poverty demonstrably exists, and has not been corrected by market forces. How fucking difficult is this to understand?

  131. 631
    Tom J

    Amphiox -

    Your ignorance is pathetic. Trying to claim that how people feel about issues are all there are to politics is like trying to claim that bricks are all there is to construction.

    I never said how people feel about issues is all there is to politics, although that’s not far from being true. I said politics is all about value judgements. You said I was wrong. And now I’m waiting patiently for your argument to back up that assertion.

  132. 632
    anteprepro

    Poverty demonstrably exists, and has not been corrected by market forces

    There you go, with your Opinions again.

  133. 633
    doublereed

    If you were in my high school class I’d give you an F. Read through this page please:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All_men_are_created_equal

    Schools, services, and the safety net have nothing to do with equality as it would have been defined in 1776. Progressives have attempted to redefine these concepts to mean you can’t have freedom of opportunity without X, and the X constantly changes.

    Oh, so you admit that you don’t actually want people to have equal opportunities at all? You just mean in terms of the most basic rights? Wow. I didn’t know that. That’s way more psychotic than I thought. My bad.

    Yes, the founders actually wanted us to increase the scope of our rights. That’s the reason we made the Ninth Amendment, actually. The founders predicted that as time went on, technology increases etc. people would recognize more rights (like the right to an education, the right to healthcare which could not have been properly realized in 1776). That’s not how it’s been interpreted by the courts, but that was the original intention.

  134. 634
    Amphiox

    or suggest that market forces will correct many externalities without need for government intervention, that in your mind suggests a complete lack of knowledge of the concept?

    Given that we already have a long a sordid history of market forces FAILING to correct such externalities without need for government intervention, and in fact that nearly all the modern forms of government intervention, at least in the United States, only exist today in BECAUSE market forces FAILED to correct the externalities so badly that unbearable political pressure was brought upon the initially RELUCTANT US government to step in (and in many other first world nations such regulations were adopted because they SAW WHAT HAPPENED in other nations, such as the US, that initially tried to the let the market correct these things), and given your complete ignorance of this sordid history, and given your deliberate refusal on this thread to acknowledge this history even when it has been pointed out to you multiple times, it certainly does suggest a complete lack of knowledge on your part of the concept of intellectual honesty, among other things.

  135. 635
    anteprepro

    I said politics is all about value judgements. You said I was wrong. And now I’m waiting patiently for your argument to back up that assertion.

    Your evidence supporting your argument that politics is all about value judgments is where, exactly? Why is that you are given exclusive right to bald assertions? Is that one of the prizes you get if you send ten cereal box tops to Randroid Monthly?

  136. 636
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    I said politics is all about value judgements. You said I was wrong. And now I’m waiting patiently for your argument to back up that assertion.

    Whereas liar and bullshitter, we are waiting for your evidence yourself right. Only the presuppositionist fuckwitted idjits are big on the concept that there evidenceless assertions must be refuted. Unlike any real intelligent person.

  137. 637
    David Marjanović

    What if the IPPC comes out tomorrow and says “Hey, we were wrong, this climate change thing won’t really harm us”? Would the left drop its objection to carbon emissions standards and fossil fuels and its commitments to renewable energy? Not likely, because a byproduct of all of these things is more power concentrated in the hands of the rich elite in Washington (and Brussels).

    *blink*

    what

    …dude, are you projecting or something?

    The government must also apply its laws fairly and impartially, including by protecting members of unpopular minority groups from private violence [...] I’m reminded of the “Sexual Harassment Panda” episode of South Park. Kyle’s father explains that antidiscrimination law tells us what we can say and do in the workplace and elsewhere. Kyle responds, “But isn’t that fascism?” His father retorts, “No, because we don’t call it fascism.”

    How is sexual harassment not “private violence” against “unpopular minority groups”?

    There’s a law against just beating people up. This law tells you what you can do in the workplace and elsewhere. Is that fascism?

    TSIB.

  138. 638
    Amphiox

    Schools, services, and the safety net have nothing to do with equality as it would have been defined in 1776.

    The right to not be a slave ALSO had nothing to do with equality as it would have been defined in 1776.

    The right to vote as a woman ALSO had nothing to do with equality as it would have been defined in 1776.

    But the Founding Fathers also recognized that the *concept of equality would change with time*, and that the words they use, like “all men are created equal”, would mean *different things* to the people of the future than it did to them. The spirit of the constitution they created was that it would be a living document that would CHANGE with the times.

    You who insist on the dead letters that were written in 1776 violate that spirit.

    Without schools, services, and a viable safety net, there can be no equality of OPPORTUNITY.

  139. 639
    doublereed

    The US is deeper in the hole than Greece. The difference, as I said, is that the US doesn’t have the ECB and Merkel breathing down its neck.

    Only in terms of real dollars. Not in terms of % of GDP which is all that matters. Greece is at ~160% (which I guess dramatically went down because of the default, I thought it was above 200%). US is at 72%.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_public_debt

    One of the reasons we can take debt all the time is because it really only matters as a % of GDP. We can literally borrow money forever as long as GDP grows at the same rate. And typically when government debt ‘goes down’ it’s because of inflation and GDP growth, not because of surpluses.

  140. 640
    vaiyt

    I would rather live in a country that adheres more closely to the principles espoused by the US founding fathers.

    That you think lofty principles are more important than human livelihoods we already know. You’re all about Freedom the abstract concept, and against freedom of actual people.

  141. 641
    Amphiox

    I said politics is all about value judgements. You said I was wrong. And now I’m waiting patiently for your argument to back up that assertion.

    Science Theory 101.

    YOU made the positive claim. The word “all” is a giveaway. The onus is on YOU to provide the POSITIVE evidence that politics is ALL about value judgments.

    You claim to be a skeptic, and yet you do not cleave to the most important aspect of skepticism? That all POSITIVE claims should not be accepted without POSITIVE evidence?

    (It’s a value judgment that Barack Obama won re-election in 2012, apparently. Either that or the presidental election results are not politics in Tom J’s world.)

  142. 642
    anteprepro

    …dude, are you projecting or something?

    Good catch. It is either that, or a case of that chronic illness afflicting political non-thinkers: “JUST AS BAD”.

    There’s a law against just beating people up. This law tells you what you can do in the workplace and elsewhere. Is that fascism?

    Government instituting laws to help people is fascism. Government giving money to less fortunate in society is communism. This is the Holy Truth of the Right-Wing Pseudo-anarchist.

  143. 643
    David Marjanović

    I said politics is all about value judgements. You said I was wrong.

    I guess it depends on your definition of “all about”…?

    See, which goals one wants to reach is a value judgment; how best to get there, without coming into conflict with one’s other goals, is not a value judgment. It’s science.

  144. 644
    Tom J

    Maureen -

    Politicians are not, as such, qualified to make such judgments, it is a well-known but widely shared illusion that, in the absence of study and comprehension, great political power, like excess alcohol, brings scientific competence.

    Wonderful quote indeed, and taken out of its context one that many on the left (and many commenters here) should look at a bit more carefully.

    As for that context, if he is suggesting, as dalillama did in an earlier comment, that liberal political positions can, and indeed have, been proven to a scientific certainty equal to those debunking creationism and the flat-earth, then I would suggest that he may have had an excess of alcohol prior to writing that op-ed.

    In other news, I love how the British argue. When I was a kid I used to watch the House of Commons on CSPAN and get a kick out of how they would insult each other always in the politest of terms. It was wonderful.

  145. 645
    David Marjanović

    Only in terms of real dollars. Not in terms of % of GDP which is all that matters.

    Ah, thanks.

    Good to see that somebody reads my comments here </snark>.

  146. 646
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    In other news, I love how the British argue. When I was a kid I used to watch the House of Commons on CSPAN and get a kick out of how they would insult each other always in the politest of terms. It was wonderful.

    We also have a welfare state, a decent minimum wage and a national health service, old bean.

  147. 647
    anteprepro

    We also have a welfare state, a decent minimum wage and a national health service, old bean.

    You misspelled “COMMUNISM”.

  148. 648
    Tom J

    Amphiox -

    YOU made the positive claim. The word “all” is a giveaway. The onus is on YOU to provide the POSITIVE evidence that politics is ALL about value judgments.

    Here’s my original statement:

    Politics is almost entirely about value judgements

    My evidence to back up this claim is in comment 594. Please re-read.

    And I’m still waiting for your evidence that politics isn’t primarily about value judgements.

    You’re going to lose this one, just to forewarn you. So before you reply read this as some background on the argument you’re about to start.

    http://theness.com/neurologicablog/index.php/bigfoot-skeptics-new-atheists-politics-and-religion/

    Issues of freedom vs security, individualism vs collectivism, meritocracy vs egalitarianism are all value judgments. It is not just counterproductive, it is simply wrong to frame these issues as empirical questions objectively resolvable with skeptical analysis.

    This is what we mean when we say we don’t deal with purely political issues. We will deal with the empirical aspects of these issues, and try very hard to distinguish them from the inherent value judgments, while trying to avoid blurring the lines between science and personal choice.

  149. 649
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    You misspelled “COMMUNISM”.

    Tom misspelled “Britain.” The correct name is the Soviet Socialist Republic Of Limeyland.

  150. 650
    vaiyt

    This line – “anti-discrimination laws, on the other hand, are directly antithetical to libertarianism” is a distortion of the truth –

    And then you immediately proceed to bemoan anti-discrimination laws as a violation of libertarian principles. Do you even read what you write?

    Kyle’s father explains that antidiscrimination law tells us what we can say and do in the workplace and elsewhere. Kyle responds, “But isn’t that fascism?”

    Prohibiting behavior that harms others and limits freedom of opportunity – fascism!

  151. 651
    anteprepro

    But you can’t, with scientific certainty, maintain that your value judgement is the correct one because that is not a thing science can measure……

    We can go on down the line – immigration, drug policy, abortion, gay rights, climate change, etc., and likely we’ll agree on some and disagree on others but the one thing you can never do is claim the science is on your side in a debate over value judgements.

    Yes. Science has no say on climate change. Absolutely brilliant.

    To say nothing of the fact that it is only a minimized view of “science” that has nothing to say about these other issues. And the fact that “science” isn’t even NECESSARY to debunk the ridiculous positions that right-wingers take on the other issues! These “value judgments” are based on arguments, and ostensibly those arguments are based on logic and facts. The “value judgments” that liberals take are consistently far more likely to actually be based on sound logic and true facts, instead of, you know, being based on complete and utter bullshit.

    To deny this is to deny political reality. A political reality that, again, science can and has observed.

  152. 652
    zenlike

    611 Tom J

    So if I don’t choose to value the effect of externalities as much as you do, or suggest that market forces will correct many externalities without need for government intervention, that in your mind suggests a complete lack of knowledge of the concept? Touche.

    Congrats Tom, you just proved you don’t understand the concept of externalities at all. Really, this is econ 101 stuff, you know. Remember when I talked about you being one of the low-information voters? You are almost worse: you are a low-information voter who has the mistaken idea that you are actually well-informed.

    Schools, services, and the safety net have nothing to do with equality as it would have been defined in 1776.

    Equality in 1776 meant one human being could literally own another human being. Well fuck us for not really being ok with that flavour of so-called ‘equality’.

    606 Tom J

    Tom J -

    Politics is almost entirely about value judgements

    Amphiox -

    No it is not.

    Please support this assertion. Feel free to use any of the issues in the latest Rasmussen poll:

    http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/mood_of_america/importance_of_issues

    Well, according to your own link, the most important issues seem to be:

    The economy and job creation are now most important to voters on the list of 15 major issues regularly tracked by Rasmussen Reports.

    Both can actually be judged on facts about the economy, voting records of political parties and their platforms. No value judgement required.

    In fact, all the issues listed in your link can be judged based upon facts, positions, etc.

  153. 653
    doublereed

    LOL did you read your own link?
    http://theness.com/neurologicablog/index.php/bigfoot-skeptics-new-atheists-politics-and-religion/

    Let me clarify my position with respect to political issues (and again, having discussed this many times with many skeptics I find this to be a common sentiment). Science and skepticism can absolutely inform political and social discussions. The list I gave above includes many political issues – GM food, farming practices, and energy policy. I would even include certain economic issues, gun control, abortion issues, gender equality, gay rights, and other similar issues. All of these issues incorporate empirical claims at some level. Can a woman’s body “shut down” pregnancy from rape? No. What does the evidence have to say about the relationship between specific gun control policies and gun violence? What are the risks posed by GM crops? What is the cost-benefit of recycling paper? Should we outlaw the hunting and shooting of Bigfoot? (Sorry, couldn’t resist.)

    As far as your quote, it’s just full of false dilemmas. Freedom vs Security? No, it doesn’t work that way. If I buy a lock for my door or encrypt my hard drive, I do not lose freedom. Security is a fundamental aspect of freedom. They cannot be unwoven. Describing them as a dichotomy is exactly the kind of bullshit that I’ve come to expect from simplistic libertarians.

  154. 654
    anteprepro

    Tom: Libertarianism is your political position.
    But politics is mostly about value judgments.
    Therefore, we shouldn’t care about facts, truth, accuracy, science, etc.
    Ergo, why do you give a shit?
    Sure, it most offend you that we think we are right and you are wrong.
    But why does it offend you, when your opinion is just that everything boils down to Just Opinions?
    And that none of those Opinions are better than others, ever more grounded in fact or reason than any other Opinion.
    So why do you even care? If you sincerely believe that politics is just personal, subjective, value judgments, than why bother arguing about politics at all? Why even enter into a discussion about it?

  155. 655
    JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness

    638
    David Marjanović

    Ah, thanks.

    Good to see that somebody reads my comments here </snark>.

    Welcome to the club!
    ….It sucks. You probably want to leave asap.

  156. 656
    doublereed

    You should learn about externalities, because in my opinion is the main reason that libertarianism fails miserably in terms of economics. Here’s a good example:

    Mass Transit systems usually operate at a loss. Not exactly free market, right? Maybe if given to a company, it would operate at a profit, right? Except you are forgetting about externalities.

    If operated at a profit, less people would use the transit, which means more people have to purchase cars. That’s money out of their pocket, and collectively more money than the cost of the Transit. And you also have to factor in traffic and pollution into that, which are also net negative. So Mass Transit systems are extremely beneficial to society even if they operate at a loss, because the other option is have an even greater loss for the society as a whole.

    Externalities are serious business. Pollution is the go-to example of externalities, but they’re far more common than that. Crime and Security are also common externalities. Health is often an externality. It’s not a matter of value differences.

  157. 657
    Dalillama, Schmott Guy

    David M620
    Actually I was; it saves on scrolling to compose my comment in another window. What an annoying formatting quirk.

  158. 658
    chigau (違う)

    Hey!
    I taught Tom J to blockquote.
    Well, probably Tom J probably paid attention to Daz but I said it first.

  159. 659
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    chigau

    Ah, there’s the problem! We’ve overfilled Tom J’s learning capacity for the month.

  160. 660
    Maureen Brian

    Tom J,

    Do I really have to do all the work for you? At one o’clock in the morning?

    Firstly, I gave you context. I was careful to give you the full letter, to say where and when it was published and to give you an easy link to an account of the man’s work. You want your shoes polished, too?

    What you completely miss is that thing called history, the place where what happened and how it all worked out is recorded and analysed. For the last millennium in the UK the record is almost complete so that we can see, in the instance of attempts to reduce destitution everything from the 1601 Act of Elizabeth I defining and regulating poverty, the work of the Guilds before and after that, the effect of the Black Death (1349) which weakened geographical ties and raised wages, etc. Then we might move on to the Industrial Revolution and the increase and shifts in population it brought, the Poor Law Act of 1834, the Friendly Societies, the Co-operative movement and the Trades Unions until in 1908 the government set up the first, limited, National Insurance scheme. For all of these we can examine primary sources plus both memoir and social history.

    In other words, you could take 100 historians with the necessary research skills and they could all spend a whole working life examining which schemes of poverty alleviation, of local government, of education served the people well, which did not. These 100 historians would come to different conclusions. They might well have blazing rows with eachother in the up-market press but all along they would be dealing with facts. Just facts and a serious attempt to understand them.

    And that is why the report you have waved about is given no respect in these parts. It does not begin with the facts. It begins with a conclusion and selects its facts to fit. It is not a credible piece of research.

    You want to split hairs about equality of opportunity vs. equality of outcome yet you refuse to hear of anything which might hinder equality of opportunity in the real world. The theoretical notion seems to be all that matters to you – an exact parallel with the creationists and their ideological eyewash about micro-evolution and macro-evolution. A distinction without a difference.

    And before I go, let us return to Benjamin Franklin. First of all to his house, which you assume must be inferior to anything now. I’ve never been to Philadelphia but the house he had London is still there and I’d move into it tomorrow. OK, it now has indoor plumbing and a kitchen range but the house itself compares well with those I see falling down in shreds all across the USA.

    More importantly, do you really think that Franklin with his passion for education, especially self-education, his love of science and his determination to think for himself would be proud to be an American now? Or would he be on the first boat back up the Thames?

  161. 661
    A. Noyd

    anteprepro (#647)

    So why do you even care? If you sincerely believe that politics is just personal, subjective, value judgments, than why bother arguing about politics at all? Why even enter into a discussion about it?

    Out of one side of his mouth, Tom is claiming you can’t possibly debunk political ideologies because, unlike creationism, their proponents don’t make concrete claims; out of the other side of his mouth, he keeps going on about all these concrete measures that supposedly show prosperity increases with freedom and so on. He’s too dumb see the contradiction.

  162. 662
    Amphiox

    Out of one side of his mouth, Tom is claiming you can’t possibly debunk political ideologies because, unlike creationism, their proponents don’t make concrete claims; out of the other side of his mouth, he keeps going on about all these concrete measures that supposedly show prosperity increases with freedom and so on.

    Remember how he started out claiming to be a skeptic and caring about evidence? Remember how HE threw out that Cato study as scientific EVIDENCE for his political positions?

    Only now, after having all his pretences of evidence debunked, does he retreat to the mealy-mouthed “but oh, politics is all just opinion anyways.”

    There sure weren’t any “but economics is a *soft* science only” caveats earlier on when he was brandishing that Cato study like a clumsy club, now where there?

  163. 663
    Travis

    Remember how he started out claiming to be a skeptic and caring about evidence? Remember how HE threw out that Cato study as scientific EVIDENCE for his political positions?

    The last few years have really ruined the word sceptic for me. So many of those that declare themselves as sceptics are utterly unable to be sceptical of their own ideas, it only applies to others. Scepticism is something one uses to laugh at others, not to examine your own ideas as well.

  164. 664
    Tom J

    doublereed -

    As far as your quote, it’s just full of false dilemmas. Freedom vs Security?

    That quote was from the same link….did you read it??

  165. 665
    anteprepro

    doublereed:

    LOL did you read your own link? (link to article) (quote from article) As far as your quote, it’s just full of false dilemmas. Freedom vs Security?

    Tom J:

    That quote was from the same link….did you read it??

    Face. Fucking. Palm.

  166. 666
    Ingdigo Jump

    Let me get this straight – in your world, someone like Steve Jobs didn’t structure Apple as a co-op only because he wanted to “siphon off a huge fucking salary,” he had a “shitton of money and want[ed] more.

    Steve Jobs? The person who emails reveal was involved in a wage theft scheme?

  167. 667
    anteprepro

    Libertaria: For when you are too lazy to invest in a trip to Bizarro World.

  168. 668
    Tom J

    Amphiox –

    Remember how he started out claiming to be a skeptic and caring about evidence? Remember how HE threw out that Cato study as scientific EVIDENCE for his political positions?

    Only now, after having all his pretences of evidence debunked, does he retreat to the mealy-mouthed “but oh, politics is all just opinion anyways.”

    There sure weren’t any “but economics is a *soft* science only” caveats earlier on when he was brandishing that Cato study like a clumsy club, now where there?

    You can keep pretending that the Cato study has been debunked, but it just isn’t so. I’ve run out of analogies, and I’m actually getting a bit tired of this argument. While you and others have provided criticism of their study, NONE OF YOU HAVE DEBUNKED IT.

    I thought maybe if I used caps, like you, you’d understand my sentences a little better.

    You’ve said, “I don’t like this aspect of the study” but no one has done the next step and said “if you actually look at the data this way, it shows something else,” or “if you measure this data, it paints a different picture.” (Maureen, I’m sorry but I did miss the WHO data you claim supports your position. Please post it again.)

    So once again, for the cheap seats this time, I’ll assert that freer nations are more prosperous nations. If you have data which shows this to be in error, present it. If you don’t, STFU.

    The last few years have really ruined the word sceptic for me. So many of those that declare themselves as sceptics are utterly unable to be sceptical of their own ideas

    This last sentence applies equally to nearly everyone I’ve been debating on this thread. I’ve explained what evidence it would take to convince me that I’m wrong (about a specific question). You’ve not produced it. I have calmly and patiently explained my arguments while enduring a constant barrage of name calling, abuse, and harassment. I’ve explained that I have erred on a couple occasions.

    Here’s what I think is really going on – I’ve entered an echo chamber of like-minded individuals on the far left-edge of the political spectrum. I actually have no chance of convincing people who think the PPI isn’t a progressive organization that anything approaching a conservative or libertarian point has any basis in reality. What I find interesting is that none of you are self-aware enough to realize this and understand that what Travis says applies to you, too.

    Physician, heal thyself!

    Look, I get it. You want a place to hang out, talk shit about conservatives and generally have a good time without having your beliefs challenged all the time. No worries. I’ve had a really warm welcome here but I’m not sure I’ll stay very long. Arguing with true believers is hard work.

    But please read Travis’ quote and do a little soul searching, for him if not for me. Because he’s absolutely right, and I’m too big a fan of the skeptical movement to see it go down like this.

  169. 669
    chigau (違う)

    Pompous git.

  170. 670
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    You can keep pretending that the Cato study has been debunked, but it just isn’t so.

    Sorry fuckwit, it was so, and early on. It is paid for liberturd propaganda, a hack job designed to say what the Koch family wants to here. It isn’t, and never was, honest scholarship. You must be a paid hack yourself to even consider using such a piece of shit as evidence. Your use of it was prima facie evidence for your presuppositional dishonesty, and you have followed the same script any godbot, creobot, or IDiot uses to play their lies. Your continued attempts to claim the Cato study is anything other than pure drivel is prima facie evidence you don’t understand third party (not your babble) evidence.
    Keep on lying to yourself. We laugh at your lies to us. Which is every post you make “well meaning” fool.

  171. 671
    Ingdigo Jump

    But please read Travis’ quote and do a little soul searching, for him if not for me.

    Searched through all your comments. No soul found

  172. 672
    doublereed

    Yes, Tom J. I read it. Did you? Because I don’t think you did.

  173. 673
    vaiyt

    We can go on down the line – immigration, drug policy, abortion, gay rights, climate change, etc., and

    Science and history can inform us whether immigrants are responsible for natives being unemployed, or what results this or that immigration policy may have.

    Science can help us understand which drug policies are more effective in keeping people away from drug addiction and reducing the violence related to illegal drug trade.

    Science can determine what will be the result of climate change and likely damages resulting from it.

    Science might not be able to change the opinions of, say, people who think universal rights don’t apply to those they don’t like (I know, trying to argue this with a Glibertarian who thinks corporations should be able to act like that might be useless) – but it can help keep all sides grounded in reality.

    You, for example, are trying to argue from facts you think you know about what might be the best political and economic path to follow – this is not merely your opinion, but something you think is demonstrably better in some way. We disagree not only with your notion of “better”, but also with the accuracy of your facts. The latter, at least, is a debate that can be settled by whoever has the most accurate data.

  174. 674
    doublereed

    Facefuckingpalm indeed.

  175. 675
    anteprepro

    You can keep pretending that the Cato study has been debunked, but it just isn’t so. I’ve run out of analogies, and I’m actually getting a bit tired of this argument. While you and others have provided criticism of their study, NONE OF YOU HAVE DEBUNKED IT.

    “I’ve run out of analogies” has to be one of the most hilarious phrases of exasperation I have seen. You realize that analogies more often are used to muddy the issue, rather than clarify it, yes?

    But, yes, you are tired of the argument, and make some sort of semantic distinction between “criticize” and “debunk”, therefore YOU WIN! Your hard-earned slow clap and fistful of confetti awaits you in the Party Shed.

    I have calmly and patiently explained my arguments while enduring a constant barrage of name calling, abuse, and harassment.

    Tears of a clown.

    Here’s what I think is really going on – I’ve entered an echo chamber of like-minded individuals on the far left-edge of the political spectrum. I actually have no chance of convincing people who think the PPI isn’t a progressive organization that anything approaching a conservative or libertarian point has any basis in reality.

    When in doubt, accuse people who disagree with you of groupthink. Because actual arguments are HARD.

    You could actually have a good chance of convincing us that a libertarian or conservative had a basis in reality. If you actually tried, and it actually was. Those are two very big “if”‘s.

    I’ve had a really warm welcome here but I’m not sure I’ll stay very long.

    Please stick the flounce. Please stick the flounce.

  176. 676
    doublereed

    Sorry, it took me several moments to realize what just happened, Tom J.

    You responded to my post, clearly not reading it, interpreting it, or digesting it in any way. Impossible to have that response if you barely understood the post. You asked if I read the link you gave when it is exceedingly obvious that you had not read it yourself. If you had, you just skimmed the part that you liked and threw out the rest. That would be evident to anyone who read the link you provided.

    This is a level of intellectual laziness that should not be treated with any sort of respect. How dare you come in here and act like you are anything but a waste of time. Good night.

  177. 677
    ChasCPeterson

    I was just in the bathroom, if you must know, and read the following data in the February Harper’s Index:

    Percentage of self-identifying libertarians who are men: 68
    Who are white: 94

    who’s surprised?
    Bueller?

  178. 678
    vaiyt

    You can keep pretending that the Cato study has been debunked,

    There is nothing to debunk in that study. It’s useless on a conceptual level. It defines “economic freedom” in a way that leads its own conclusions, does not tell how it’s quantified, and worse, relates it to per capita GDP (which is a misleading metric when it leaves out economic inequality) while assuming the relationship is of cause and effect.

  179. 679
    Anri

    Tom J @ 617:

    Nothing I have said violates the principle that all men are created equal – unless you construe equality to mean equality of outcomes, not of opportunity, which is not what Madison had in mind.

    So, I have always wondered: how do we determine equalities of opportunity without evaluating outcomes?

    How do you determine if there is a glass ceiling without looking at promotion patterns?
    And more to the point, how do you fix it? Just go “Oh, well, this generation of (insert modifier here) has been royally screwed – but we can’t help them because that might be enforcing equal outcomes!”?

    Why the assumption that the majority of differential outcomes is actually caused by differential abilities (and is therefore presumably a good thing) as opposed to being caused by differential opportunities?
    Let me put it to you this way: if your goal is to be rich, where would you rather start: as the smart kid of people living under an overpass? Or as the dumb kid of billionaires?

    How do you propose we untangle the two?

  180. 680
    Amphiox

    You can keep pretending that the Cato study has been debunked,

    One doesn’t have to DEBUNK a study about orange juice to know that it cannot be used to support an argument about apple cider.

    It could be a perfectly designed study about orange juice, and it would not matter.

    It does not apply to the question at hand.

  181. 681
    chigau (違う)

    Tom J
    The problem was not that this is an echo-chamber,
    the problem was that you had poor arguments and you presented them badly.
    You failed.
    Be ashamed.

  182. 682
    vaiyt

    Nothing I have said violates the principle that all men are created equal – unless you construe equality to mean equality of outcomes, not of opportunity, which is not what Madison had in mind.

    We can, however, look at outcomes to verify where opportunities are unequal, instead of assuming a CEO works thousands of times harder than the average worker or that blacks are less capable of understanding advanced science than whites, like dumb Glibertarians do.

  183. 683
    A. Noyd

    How do you tell the difference between an echo chamber and a whole bunch of people independently telling you that you are wrong because you are wrong?

  184. 684
    Amphiox

    We can, however, look at outcomes to verify where opportunities are unequal, instead of assuming a CEO works thousands of times harder than the average worker

    The average CEO makes 200 to 500 times what the average workers does (in the case of Walmart it is 1000 times).

    If there was equality of opportunity, to produce this inequality of outcome, the average CEO should have spontaneously combusted from the metabolic demands of working that many times harder than the average human.

    Or else CEOs are Time Lord capable of squeezing 5000 or so hours into a single day. (In which case they would have died from sleep deprivation.)

  185. 685
    zenlike

    668 Tom J

    You can keep pretending that the Cato study has been debunked, but it just isn’t so.

    You didn’t address many of the latest criticism levelled against it, including my own.

    I’ve run out of analogies, and I’m actually getting a bit tired of this argument.

    I’m getting a bit woozy by all the hand-waving.

    While you and others have provided criticism of their study, NONE OF YOU HAVE DEBUNKED IT.

    So you assert, but nothing back this up. You do understand that criticism which undermines the basic premises of a study undermines the entire study, right?

    You’ve said, “I don’t like this aspect of the study”

    We’ve repeatedly said ‘this part of the study is bullshit because of X and Y, and because the rest of the study rests on that part, the entire study is bogus’. And you have not addressed these criticisms.

    but no one has done the next step and said “if you actually look at the data this way, it shows something else,” or “if you measure this data, it paints a different picture.”

    Which data? The data of the study? It’s bullshit data, my criticisms where levered at the data in the study, and therefore any conclusion it arrives at is wrong. Using that data in another way is equally useless.

    So once again, for the cheap seats this time, I’ll assert that freer nations are more prosperous nations.

    Repeating something doesn’t make it true.

    If you have data which shows this to be in error, present it. If you don’t, STFU.

    Moron, you assert something, you back it up with data. The data you pointed to was criticised and dismissed and you didn’t have an answer to those criticisms, so hand-waving the criticisms away doesn’t magically make it so.

    I’ve explained what evidence it would take to convince me that I’m wrong (about a specific question). You’ve not produced it.

    Just like any true believer: “I believe in God, and it’s up to others to prove that he doesn’t exist”. Really, you call yourself a sceptic? You are an embarrassment.

    I have calmly and patiently explained my arguments

    No you haven’t, just repeating the same stuff over and over again is not explaining anything.

    while enduring a constant barrage of name calling,

    Poor baby.

    abuse, and harassment.

    Fuck you for using these words just because you were criticised you fuck-wit.

    I’ve entered an echo chamber of like-minded individuals on the far left-edge of the political spectrum.

    Congratulations for admitting that you have nothing. Nothing at all.

    I actually have no chance of convincing people who think the PPI isn’t a progressive organization

    PPI is a ‘Third Way’ think tank, as I said before. You do understand what ‘Third Way’ is, right? Do you also think North Korea is democratic just because it’s in their name?

    What I find interesting is that none of you are self-aware enough to realize this and understand that what Travis says applies to you, too.

    Tom J, you are one of the least self-aware individuals I ran across on these boards in a looooong time. You do understand what self-aware means right? At this point, I really can’t be sure about that?.

    Look, I get it. You want a place to hang out, talk shit about conservatives and generally have a good time without having your beliefs challenged all the time.

    You challenged our beliefs and we have defended ourselves with actual arguments. It is you who just throws them all away without actually addressing them, and decide to continue to live in lala-land.

    No worries. I’ve had a really warm welcome here but I’m not sure I’ll stay very long.

    Good, you are too tiresome and dumb. No actual debate, just patting a dead mouse around at this point.

    Arguing with true believers is hard work.

    Indeed. Remember what I said above about self-awareness?

  186. 686
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    I’ve entered an echo chamber of like-minded individuals on the far left-edge of the political spectrum.

    Damn, we’ve been rumbled. Oh, well if we must, we must. All together now…

    Arise, ye workers from your slumber,
    Arise, ye prisoners of want.
    For reason in revolt now thunders,
    and at last ends the age of cant!
    Away with all your superstitions,
    Servile masses, arise, arise!
    We’ll change henceforth the old tradition,
    And spurn the dust to win the prize!
    So comrades, come rally,
    And the last fight let us face.
    The Internationale,
    Unites the human race.
    So comrades, come rally,
    And the last fight let us face.
    The Internationale,
    Unites the human race.

    No more deluded by reaction,
    On tyrants only we’ll make war!
    The soldiers too will take strike action,
    They’ll break ranks and fight no more!
    And if those cannibals keep trying,
    To sacrifice us to their pride,
    They soon shall hear the bullets flying,
    We’ll shoot the generals on our own side.
    So comrades, come rally,
    And the last fight let us face.
    The Internationale,
    Unites the human race.
    So comrades, come rally,
    And the last fight let us face.
    The Internationale,
    Unites the human race.

    No saviour from on high delivers,
    No faith have we in prince or peer.
    Our own right hand the chains must shiver,
    Chains of hatred, greed and fear.
    E’er the thieves will out with their booty,
    And to all give a happier lot.
    Each at his forge must do their duty,
    And we’ll strike the iron while it’s hot.
    So comrades, come rally,
    And the last fight let us face.
    The Internationale,
    Unites the human race.
    So comrades, come rally,
    And the last fight let us face.
    The Internationale,
    Unites the human race.

  187. 687
    Maureen Brian

    Daz wins!

  188. 688
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    *bows*

    Seriously, though; the imagery may be a tad violent, but for all its reputation as an ultra-leftist/Marxist anthem, I see little wrong with the spirit of that song.

    (My Granddad would shudder, mind. He much preferred The Red Flag.)

  189. 689
    Tom J

    Doublereed –

    I’m in full agreement with Steve Novella, in both the quotation you cite and the one I cite. Both of them are true. Science can inform – inform! – political debates but rarely if ever can it solve then.

    Take abortion for example. Science can inform the debate by describing how a fetus grows, when it’s viable, etc. The social sciences can look at the landscape since Roe v. Wade and attempt to describe the affects of abortion, etc.

    But science can’t prove that abortion is either a good or bad public policy. Because for some people the reproductive freedom of the mother is paramount and the life of the fetus means little or nothing. For others the life of the fetus is paramount and the reproductive freedom of the mother means little or nothing.

    You can attempt to persuade people with arguments, perhaps using the information science can provide, but neither side can argue that their position is empirically correct because ultimately you are either pro-life or pro-choice based on your own value judgement.

    Pick any other political issue you’d like, the results will be similar. Science can inform, but not decide.

    The bulk of the reaction to my relatively modest proposition has crossed this line. Many people are presenting value judgements as scientifically established facts. Among a few scattered criticisms of the study I presented as evidence comes this one:

    It defines “economic freedom” in a way that leads its own conclusions, does not tell how it’s quantified, and worse, relates it to per capita GDP (which is a misleading metric when it leaves out economic inequality) while assuming the relationship is of cause and effect.

    These are all value judgements masquerading as serious criticism. Let’s break this down.

    Defining economic freedom in a way that leads to its own conclusions – do they define it in a non-standard way? Do any of their metrics undermine the data? At least one commenter here mentioned that labor unions count against a countries score, but simply stating that doesn’t make your case, inasmuch as this is a study of economic freedom, not an idea many labor unions will champion. Finally, how should economic freedom be defined? Their definition is based on an abstract concept. Would yours be based on a concrete situation? Based on the freedom from want perhaps? See how value judgements can creep into places we never thought they could?

    Relates the score to per capita GDP – a topic we’ve discussed at length. And of course that statistic cuts both ways in the study. Wealthy countries like China score low on the freedom scale. Their GDP score increases the average at the lower end of the freedom scale, so if there is an error it isn’t one that is unique only to the freer countries.

    And even this criticism is based on a value judgement – many people here are concerned with income inequality and as such that is, for them, the more telling statistic even if per capita GDP is widely used as a measure with which to compare the relative wealth of two countries.

    Finally – correlation is not causation. This is a common criticism many economic and other “soft” science studies. However, there is a clear mechanism for causation in this study – the market. The null hypothesis is that a freer market performs better (produces more wealth) than a highly regulated market. And we have clear examples (the two Koreas) of countries which started at roughly the same point, followed different economic paths, and ended up in widely divergent places.

    So while you are correct that correlation doesn’t equal causation, in this case there is a clear mechanism driving one towards the other, and clear examples of this mechanism working in the real world.

  190. 690
    PZ Myers

    Good grief, Tom J, aren’t you done masturbating yet?

  191. 691
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    Wow, that flounce lasted, what, just long enough to get some shut-eye?

    Tom, Tom, the Bouncing Bombast, His flounces, sadly, do not last.

  192. 692
    Tom J

    Zen

    Fuck you for using these words just because you were criticised you fuck-wit.

    Thank you for making my point.

    Percentage of self-identifying libertarians who are men: 68
    Who are white: 94

    Why are you trying to assign me a gender and a race? Or did you want to start a conversation about privilege? I promise you’ll be embarrassed if you go down that road.

    Also, who ever said I was a libertarian? I certainly didn’t, although it’s clear I agree with some of their principles.

  193. 693
  194. 694
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    Tom J is engaging in what some people call “Hoggling” but that I like to call

    On an’ on an’ onanism.

    Ba dum, tish!

    I’ll see myself out.

  195. 695
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Also, who ever said I was a libertarian? I certainly didn’t, although it’s clear I agree with some of their principles.

    Nope, one-to-one correspondence. You are one stupid preacher. You aren’t even aware of what you are preaching, and why.

    But science can’t prove that abortion is either a good or bad public policy.

    Sorry idjit, it can show that having abortion on demand is beneficial compared to the alternative. Which doesn’t stop abortion, never did, just drove it underground to unsanitary conditions, etc, resulting in death of women. But then, you don’t give a flying fuck about anything other than unnecessary freedom for corportions. Never mind the people who are hurt by your attitude. You simply can’t give a hoot about anybody else. Which is why liberturdism is morally bankrupt, and you will never gain any traction here with that fatally flawed theology.

    Which is why you should just fuck off. Nothing you have said makes any sense to somebody who trusts reality compared to a unevidence holy book of bullshit.

  196. 696
    Tom J

    PZ – I’m trying to teach evolution to creationists, this may take a while.

    Actually that’s a bad analogy. I’m trying to teach people who are so certain that their worldview and ideology is correct and scientifically supported that, in fact, there are multiple valid ways to organize and govern a society. Progressives are no more correct than centrists or conservatives; they value different things.

    It’s a hard sell.

  197. 697
    ChasCPeterson

    Why are you trying to assign me a gender and a race?

    Why do you imagine I was talking to or about you?
    Are you a narcissist as well as a selfish dumbfuck?

  198. 698
    anteprepro

    Pick any other political issue you’d like, the results will be similar. Science can inform, but not decide.

    Only in so far as people decide to ignore the science and don’t let science inform their decisions. For virtually every political issue where science can inform the debate, it usually favors only one side. The other side just chooses to ignore that. I guess that is just one of those “value judgments”, eh? Judging whether or not you actually care about how much reality supports your opinions? Whether or not you value facts? Or basic logic?

    Also, who ever said I was a libertarian? I certainly didn’t, although it’s clear I agree with some of their principles.

    “Oh sure, I agree with them and use their talking points, but I am not one of them!”

  199. 699
    anteprepro

    Progressives are no more correct than centrists or conservatives; they value different things.

    Again, the ardent relativist who thinks that everything boils down to arbitrariness, subjectiveness, and opinions continues to have a bee in his bonnet regarding people insisting that facts may be involved. Baffling.

  200. 700
    chigau (違う)

    Tom J #696
    teaching or selling?

  201. 701
    Amphiox

    I’m trying to teach people who are so certain that their worldview and ideology is correct and scientifically supported that, in fact, there are multiple valid ways to organize and govern a society. Progressives are no more correct than centrists or conservatives; they value different things.

    You’re doing no such thing, you pathetic liar.

    Is it time to quarantine this turd-muffin in the Thunderdome?

  202. 702
    Rey Fox

    Also, who ever said I was a libertarian?

    Libertarianism, the Amazing Disappearing Ideology.

  203. 703
    Travis

    Far left, wow, I actually laughed at Tom when I read that. This just shows how absolutely out of touch, and unable they are to comprehend people’s positions. It has been obvious from the beginning that Tom wants to frame this as freedom loving versus authoritarian by constantly comparing countries they view as free with countries that are extremes in some way, such as Greece, Cuba, DPRK, or Venezuela, and has tried to make it seem as though those are the only two options, and they know what said they are on, FREEDOM, so everyone else must be pining for a completely state run government. They are unable to understand that what is being discussed is shades of control and regulation that are clearly needed.

  204. 704
    zenlike

    692 Tom J

    Zen

    Fuck you for using these words just because you were criticised you fuck-wit.

    Thank you for making my point.

    So you still think calling you names like fuck-wit is abuse and harassment? You are an idiot.

    Also, this is the only part of my comment that you address? No other counter-arguments against any of my points? Tom, you’ve got nothing. You are an idiot.

    696 Tom J

    PZ – I’m trying to teach evolution to creationists, this may take a while.

    You are trying to teach economics while knowing nothing about it. You don’t even understand externalities, a concept generally tought in econ 101. You’ve got nothing. You know nothing. You are an idiot.

  205. 705
    Travis

    PZ – I’m trying to teach evolution to creationists, this may take a while.

    You have it back asswards, you are the creationist here.

  206. 706
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Tom J, idjjit

    PZ – I’m trying to teach evolution [presuppositional young earth creationism] to creationists [evidenced based scientists and other intellectuals who follow the scientific evidence], this may take a while [an eternity, as I have nothing but lies, deception, and bullshit to offer].

    Fixed that for you Tom J. You have nothing, and will never have anything useful to say, other than in your presuppositionally deluded mind.

  207. 707
    omnicrom

    Tom J you are a very stupid and narcissistic person.

  208. 708
    David Marjanović

    Ah, there’s the problem! We’ve overfilled Tom J’s learning capacity for the month.

    Looks like it.

    You can keep pretending that the Cato study has been debunked, but it just isn’t so. I’ve run out of analogies, and I’m actually getting a bit tired of this argument. While you and others have provided criticism of their study, NONE OF YOU HAVE DEBUNKED IT.

    I thought maybe if I used caps, like you, you’d understand my sentences a little better.

    You’ve said, “I don’t like this aspect of the study” but no one has done the next step and said “if you actually look at the data this way, it shows something else,” or “if you measure this data, it paints a different picture.”

    Uh, that’s because we’ve shown the Cato “study” doesn’t say anything. It says “colorless green ideas sleep furiously”. It pretends to measure parameters that it defines in partly unexplained, partly contradictory ways, so it measures nothing. Its conclusions aren’t based on anything.

    There’s nothing to debunk there!

    Do we need to debunk Anne Elk’s second theory, too?

    (…Heh. I wrote all this before I had read comment 678. :-) )

    Seriously, though; the imagery may be a tad violent, but for all its reputation as an ultra-leftist/Marxist anthem, I see little wrong with the spirit of that song.

    Ironically, it has a very literary style. (The translation gets that across very well, with “ye” and “e’er” and all that.)

    Defining economic freedom in a way that leads to its own conclusions – do they define it in a non-standard way? Do any of their metrics undermine the data? At least one commenter here mentioned that labor unions count against a countries score, but simply stating that doesn’t make your case, inasmuch as this is a study of economic freedom, not an idea many labor unions will champion. Finally, how should economic freedom be defined? Their definition is based on an abstract concept. Would yours be based on a concrete situation? Based on the freedom from want perhaps? See how value judgements can creep into places we never thought they could?

    See, why isn’t that discussion in the Cato paper where it belongs? The authors of that paper did things but failed to explain why. Their manuscript would never survive peer review for this reason.

    the two Koreas

    chaebol

    and has tried to make it seem as though those are the only two options, and they know what said they are on, FREEDOM, so everyone else must be pining for a completely state run government

    …like… South Korea till 1987.

  209. 709
    Travis

    …like… South Korea till 1987.

    Well, I did not say the examples were very good, but that is consistently how they have tried to frame this.

  210. 710
    opposablethumbs

    economic freedom, not an idea many labor unions will champion.

    Looking-glass world.

    … because of course “economic freedom” can only possibly be the freedom of those who have money to do what they like with whatever money they can control; it couldn’t possibly mean freedom from poverty. Or the economic freedom not to have only jobs in hazardous conditions to “choose” between. Those are economic freedoms that most people need unions for.

  211. 711
    doublereed

    I’m in full agreement with Steve Novella, in both the quotation you cite and the one I cite. Both of them are true. Science can inform – inform! – political debates but rarely if ever can it solve then.

    Oh my god, can you please stop making distinctions without differences? You’re just trying to squeeze your moral relativism in where-ever you can.

    The pro-life side of abortion has nothing to do with valuing life. They don’t do that with any of their other policy, they are also against contraception, and they don’t support children once they are born. FFS, many of them support the death penalty. So no, it’s not just a value difference, and to characterize this way is dishonest at best.

    If it’s all the same to you as a moral relativist, then why are you arguing one position or the other? Are you just being contrarian? Because that’s what it sounds like. PZ hit the nail on the head that you’re just philosophically masturbating.

    Do you even think that you are right?

  212. 712
    A. Noyd

    For his comment at #689, Tom J should get an all expense paid commenting vacation to Thunderdome. Or perhaps a permanent vacation from Pharyngula entirely. He shows he hasn’t listened to a single thing people have said. Like how South Korea’s growth was achieved through a high level of regulation and protectionism. Or that, according to both historical and current evidence, plotting deregulation against individual freedom/wealth creates a bell curve, not a line trending ever upward. Or that measuring GDP doesn’t support what he’s saying because although (1+1+13)/3 = (5+5+5)/3, it’s not true that 13-1=5-5.

    Like, he doesn’t even have to agree, but he’s acting as if people haven’t even challenged him at length on these things.

  213. 713
    Amphiox

    economic freedom, not an idea many labor unions will champion.

    Another semi-slanderous assumption without ancillary evidence.

    The idea that workers should have the freedom to make their own economic choices is certainly something that labor unions will and do champion.

    Even IF that were true, the fact that even Tom J says “many” and not “all” means that it was egregiously dishonest for the Cato study to use the presence of labor unions as a metric in the way it did. A more honest way of looking at things would be to look at the specific labor-related policies that specific unions champion, and whether those policies are actually applied.

  214. 714
    Amphiox

    I think I’ve got the proper analogy for Tom J.

    He is like a Raelian who thinks that he is trying to teach young earth creationism to an audience of established evolutionary scientists.

  215. 715
    Tom J

    Antepropo –

    Only in so far as people decide to ignore the science and don’t let science inform their decisions. For virtually every political issue where science can inform the debate, it usually favors only one side. The other side just chooses to ignore that. I guess that is just one of those “value judgments”, eh? Judging whether or not you actually care about how much reality supports your opinions? Whether or not you value facts? Or basic logic?

    You’re falling into the trap here anteprepo. Either givn me a few examples or use mine, abortion. Which side does the science favor? The side that says the fetus’ heart starts beating at X weeks or the side that says women should be allowed to have late term abortions even if their health is not at risk.

    How about immigration, what sort of policy should we have on immigration? What does the science say about that?

    Foreign policy perhaps, what does science say about the situation in Ukraine right now?

    So where I’m going? Science may be able to inform narrow questions in relation to these issues – and often those questions pre-suppose value judgements of their own. But science can’t answer questions about value judgements lie at the heart of and inform all of our politics.

  216. 716
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    What does the science say about that?

    Simple fuckwit. It studies the consequences and outcomes of various policies, including looking the racism behind such policies. Blatant racism you approve of for corporations….

  217. 717
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    . But science can’t answer questions about value judgements lie at the heart of and inform all of our politics.

    All science does is point out the consequences of such actions. And it can determine those policies are sexist, racist, overtly religious in a secular setting, etc. You and liberturdism say nothing about the consequences of your actions and policies. Even do they really work (no, that evidence is in).
    Which is why your stupid and fuckwitted “value judgment” bullshit is nothing but a way to behave badly without having to face the consequences of your decisions. But, if you are a responsible adult, and expect companies to behave with responsibility, then they need to accept the consequences of those decisions, like high cost remediation for environmental damages, high cost payouts to those they discriminate against and sexually harass, and not expect their workers to have to use food stamps because they refuse to pay a living wage.

  218. 718
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    Tom J

    Remember the topic?

    Poverty. It exists. Contra your assertion that they should, market forces have not magicked it away.

    Discuss.
    Or shut the fuck up.

  219. 719
    Tom J

    For his comment at #689, Tom J should get an all expense paid commenting vacation to Thunderdome. Or perhaps a permanent vacation from Pharyngula entirely. He shows he hasn’t listened to a single thing people have said. Like how South Korea’s growth was achieved through a high level of regulation and protectionism. Or that, according to both historical and current evidence, plotting deregulation against individual freedom/wealth creates a bell curve, not a line trending ever upward. Or that measuring GDP doesn’t support what he’s saying because although (1+1+13)/3 = (5+5+5)/3, it’s not true that 13-1=5-5.

    Ah yes, here it is. Because I don’t fall into lockstep with your politics I should be banned. I thought I saw this coming earlier, and I’m surprised it’s taken this long for someone to suggest.

    “South Korea’s growth was achieved through a high level of regulation and protectionism…”

    High compared to what? If you’re comparing the country to the US then I agree, and so does the data from Cato which has the country ranked only in the top third of all countries (while the US has been consistently ranked higher). If you’re suggesting that their level of regulation and protectionism was or is other than North Korea, then I wholeheartedly disagree.

    I never asserted that South Korea either was or is some Randian paradise of free market bliss. I simply asserted that they choose a more free market oriented path than did their neighbors to the north, and that the results were predictable and support the general contention that freer markets produce more prosperity.

    And again with the bell curve reference….first of all, please provide a citation for that. Second of all, I never made an argument for complete deregulation, in fact I said the exact opposite that some regulation was and is necessary.

  220. 720
    zenlike

    Just climb on that cross Tom J, we all know you want to.

    You shouldn’t be banned for being wrong, you should be banned for being a disingenuous bore who disregards legitimate criticisms raised against you and hand-waves away everything that contradicts your little bubble.

  221. 721
    David Marjanović

    Science may be able to inform narrow questions in relation to these issues – and often those questions pre-suppose value judgements of their own. But science can’t answer questions about value judgements lie at the heart of and inform all of our politics.

    Science can’t tell you which goal to pick; that’s a value judgment. Once you have picked a goal, however, science will tell you which actions will get you there and what side effects they’ll have.

    Can this really be so hard to understand?

    I never asserted that South Korea either was or is some Randian paradise of free market bliss.

    You pretty much did. To quote from my comment 544 (about 2/3 the way down), a reply to you you have scrolled past:

    You did, however, insinuate it by portraying North Korea and the version of South Korea that’s in your head as extremes on a spectrum – and then pretending that the extremes are the only parts of the spectrum where it’s even possible to be. I quote from comment 338 [one of yours]: Which end of that spectrum would you rather be on?

  222. 722
    Tom J

    Daz -

    Poverty. It exists. Contra your assertion that they should, market forces have not magicked it away.

    Discuss.
    Or shut the fuck up.

    Let’s turn that formulation around. Poverty, it exists. Contra your assertions that they should, collectivist policies and heavy government intervention and high taxation on the rich have not magicked it away.

    What say you?

    My contention has been that the freer the market the more prosperous are it’s people. No one has even attempted to argue the converse, that the less free the market the more prosperous are it’s people. And more specifically no one here has argued that higher levels of regulation or government intervention alleviate severe poverty or homelessness – for all the talk about getting the US closer to European economic views, the continent still has around 3 million homeless.

    Your question is essentially meaningless when applied strictly to economic freedom without it also being applied to economic system you would prefer.

  223. 723
    David Marjanović

    Contra your assertions that they should, collectivist policies and heavy government intervention and high taxation on the rich have not magicked it away.

    What, where? Which country are you talking about?

    My contention has been that the freer the market the more prosperous are it’s people.

    Somalia. Absolute freedom of the market.

    No one has even attempted to argue the converse, that the less free the market the more prosperous are it’s people.

    What has been argued is the bell curve: there’s a happy mean of market freedom where people are most prosperous – when the market isn’t free enough, as in North Korea, people suffer; when the market is too free, as in Somalia, people suffer, too.

    I don’t understand what prevents you from acknowledging this.

    for all the talk about getting the US closer to European economic views, the continent still has around 3 million homeless.

    Nobody has claimed that Europe is precisely at that happy mean of market freedom; and do keep in mind that not all of Europe is exactly in the same place by such measures.

  224. 724
    A. Noyd

    Tom J (#719)

    Because I don’t fall into lockstep with your politics I should be banned.

    Me, from #712: “Like, he doesn’t even have to agree…”
    “Like, he doesn’t even have to agree…”
    “Like, he doesn’t even have to agree…”

    Now, how are you getting that I want you banned for not agreeing when I explicitly said that it wasn’t required? I’m saying you should be kicked to the TD or banned because, per the rules, “your comments are repetitive” and “you repeat arguments that have already been addressed.” And I could point to this response (and many others) as evidence you are also “unwilling to have read previous comments.”

    You could start changing your tune by acknowledging that I did not say you should be banned for disagreement, but, in fact, said the opposite. Or would you rather keep digging?

  225. 725
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    Tom, your vaunted market forces have been in existence since Ug traded a flint knife for one of Ib’s furs. Yet we still have poverty. At this point, Thomas Hardy springs to mind.

    ‘Peace upon earth!’ was said. We sing it,
    And pay a million priests to bring it.
    After two thousand years of mass
    We’ve got as far as poison-gas.

    What say I? I say the Same as Hardy, and the same as Einstein:

    Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

    Relying on market forces: It’s Not Fucking Working.

  226. 726
    Tom J

    David –

    Science can’t tell you which goal to pick; that’s a value judgment. Once you have picked a goal, however, science will tell you which actions will get you there and what side effects they’ll have.

    To the extent either the social sciences or economics have predictive value, then I agree. Depending on the discipline, I don’t have much faith in their predictive value. Take a look at epidemiological studies for example. They have a very hard time proving causation. Is salt good or bad for you? I don’t know and I don’t think they do either. So how does that science inform public policy? Obesity is another example, is it calorie dependent or carbohydrate dependent? We’ve been told the former but a growing number of people think it’s the latter.

    Questions like, do seat belts save lives, are much easier to answer. But the answer to that question doesn’t answer this one: should governments mandate seatbelt use? That’s an entirely different question that is informed by the answer to the first.

  227. 727
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Contra your assertions that they should, collectivist policies

    Gee, why do you keep invoking communism where it doesn’t exist fuckwit? It merely makes you and your stupid evidenceless assertions look even stupider. And that says a lot, since your arguments are the equivalent of somebody mindless repeating a meaningless mantra over and over.

    No one has even attempted to argue the converse, that the less free the market the more prosperous are it’s people.

    No, we evidenced that fuckwit, but you are too stupid to acknowledge the truth. You don’t decide what the evidence says, we do. And since you present nothing but assertions, your mere assertions can and are dismissed.

    Your question is essentially meaningless when applied strictly to economic freedom without it also being applied to economic system you would prefer.

    Your mindless attempts to not allow for consequences of your economic/political decisions, or even acknowledge that the consequences aren’t what you claim is prima facie evidence you lie and bullshit preacher. And you will never make any headway here. You don’t have sufficient intellectual honesty and integrity, which starts with the concept you can be wrong, to effectively argue any point here. Like any preacher, you can’t allow yourself to be wrong. Which means you can never be right.

  228. 728
    David Marjanović

    To the extent either the social sciences or economics have predictive value, then I agree. Depending on the discipline, I don’t have much faith in their predictive value. Take a look at epidemiological studies for example. They have a very hard time proving causation. Is salt good or bad for you? I don’t know and I don’t think they do either. So how does that science inform public policy? Obesity is another example, is it calorie dependent or carbohydrate dependent? We’ve been told the former but a growing number of people think it’s the latter.

    *facepalm*

    You notice me for the first time, and waste the opportunity on the creationist point that science has been wrong before and doesn’t lead to absolute metaphysical certainty?

    Really?

    should governments mandate seatbelt use?

    Well, now that so many governments have mandated seatbelt use, you could take a look at whether these laws have had their intended effect. Once you’ve picked your goal, science will tell you if mandated seatbelt use will get you there.

    If, however, the goal you’ve picked is the principle of freedom rather than the right to life…

  229. 729
    Tom J

    Noyd -

    You could start changing your tune by acknowledging that I did not say you should be banned for disagreement, but, in fact, said the opposite. Or would you rather keep digging?

    I did misinterpret your comment, mostly because you either failed to read or misinterpreted my earlier comments on S Korea, GDP, etc. Had you read what I wrote you would have seen that I did acknowledge South Koreas ranking on the Cato scale to the point of identifying what ranking they were in various years. And if you’d read my replies to the GDP issue, of which there were a few, you’ll see that I challenge these commenters to come up with a better metric. You’d also see that I’ve asked for a reference to the “bell curve” at least a couple times.

    So going on the assumption that you’d read these things yet made the determination that I should be banned anyway, I concluded that it must be because I don’t agree with you politically. My apologies.

  230. 730
    What a Maroon, el papa ateo

    Daz, 725,

    What say I? I say the Same as Hardy, and the same as Einstein:

    Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

    Einstein probably didn’t say it.

    (Also, it’s a stupid quote.)

    (But I love the Hardy quote.)

  231. 731
    anteprepro

    The side that says the fetus’ heart starts beating at X weeks or the side that says women should be allowed to have late term abortions even if their health is not at risk.

    Yes, because those are totally equivalent and representative of both respective sides of the debate!

    I am sensing that there are some anti-choice tinted glasses involved here…

    Ah yes, here it is. Because I don’t fall into lockstep with your politics I should be banned.

    Start up the tiny violin.

    Take a look at epidemiological studies for example. They have a very hard time proving causation. Is salt good or bad for you? I don’t know and I don’t think they do either. So how does that science inform public policy? Obesity is another example, is it calorie dependent or carbohydrate dependent? We’ve been told the former but a growing number of people think it’s the latter.

    “Oh God! MULTIPLE FACTORS AFFECTING SOMETHING! EVERYONE THROW UP YOUR HANDS! WE KNOW NOTHING! SCIENCE CANNOT SAVE YOU NOW!!!”

  232. 732
    Tom J

    David -

    waste the opportunity on the creationist point that science has been wrong before and doesn’t lead to absolute metaphysical certainty?

    How the social sciences and economics relate to public policy is entirely different than creationism and evolution in so many ways it’s hard to know where to begin. Let’s start by using the FDA and their drug approval process as an example. New drugs are offered for approval all the time – a few years back I owned stock in a company which had an anti-obesity drug up for approval. The science said it worked but ultimately the board decided not to approve the drug because of potential side effects. They valued the potentially adverse effects of the drug over the potentially greater positive effects.

    Did they follow the science? Should they have approved the drug because it would have helped millions of people or did they do the right thing because the drug likely would have killed a few of them?

    Let’s go back to seatbelts. The science shows they save lives. no brainer. Should be easy to tell people that and they’ll do it of their own accord, right? The ones that care about living anyway. Turns out it doesn’t quite work like that, and some people need an added incentive to not die, like a traffic stop and a fine. Should the government be the business of ensuring the safety of its citizens at all times?

    Children drown not only in swimming pools every year but also – believe it or not – in buckets of water. To save these children should governments ban swimming pools and drill holes in all our buckets?

    I can keep going but I think you get the point. Science can tell us about something but that doesn’t mean it can tell us what, if anything, to do about it.

  233. 733
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    What a Maroon #730

    Einstein probably didn’t say it.

    Ah well. It works (or not: see below) just as well whoever said it.

    (Also, it’s a stupid quote.)

    How so? Admittedly, if I were coining it myself, I’d use a word which didn’t refer to mental illness. Is that what you’re objecting to? [I'm interested, not arguing.]

    The Hardy quote’s entitled Christmas 1924.

  234. 734
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    . But the answer to that question doesn’t answer this one: should governments mandate seatbelt use?

    Off course, since using proper safety devices decreases the cost to both the people injured, who suffer reduced injuries by wearing the belts, and society since there is less need for medical treatment and rehab.
    This is the with freedom comes responsibility. For me, that is if you want to ride a motorcycle without a helmet, you should be responsible enough to have catastrophic long-term care insurance, in case you only mildly scramble your brains in an accident, and need care for the rest of your life. That is why one looks at consequences, and how one should be responsible for said consequences. Freedom without responsibility means you just make somebody else responsible for your bad actions. Like the motorcyclist with basic insurance who ends up on Medicaid for the rest of their life. Somebody else’s in this case the taxpayers, problem.

  235. 735
    What a Maroon, el papa ateo

    Daz,

    Usually when you see the quote, it’s presented as the definition of insanity, as if all mental illness is the same; that’s why I don’t like it.

    Now, if you replace “insanity” with, say, “obtuseness”, you’d have a point.

  236. 736
    anteprepro

    Wow, Tom’s 732 is such an obvious Gish Gallop. Which is really his strategy in a nutshell.

  237. 737
    Amphiox

    Ah yes, here it is. Because I don’t fall into lockstep with your politics I should be banned.

    http://dakiniland.files.wordpress.com/2012/02/smallest-violin.jpg

    Thunderdomeage doesn’t mean banning. In fact, the Thunderdome is as big a forum as any other thread (bigger than most, as a matter of fact)

  238. 738
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    What a Maroon

    Agreed.

  239. 739
    zenlike

    722 Tom J

    My contention has been that the freer the market the more prosperous are it’s people. No one has even attempted to argue the converse

    Strange, you must have missed my last 4 or so post. Or no you haven’t, because you actually addressed one small line in one of them, and disregarded the actual arguments in the rest of the post.

    Tell me Tom J, are you just dishonest here, or are you also unable to be honest with yourself?

  240. 740
    zenlike

    Yeah, I know it’s a mess but I seem to be unable to be walk away from this train wreck.

    732 Tom J

    How the social sciences and economics relate to public policy is entirely different than creationism and evolution in so many ways it’s hard to know where to begin.

    Hey, it’s you who was making the analogy of you being the educator of creationists, remember?

    I’m now going to address the rest of your ‘points’, however, it’s important to note that they have nothing to do with your previous statement, even though you probably think so.

    The science said it worked but ultimately the board decided not to approve the drug because of potential side effects. They valued the potentially adverse effects of the drug over the potentially greater positive effects. Did they follow the science?

    Probably. You do know that there is a cost to the side-effects, yes? Lawsuits, settlements, bad publicity, product recall. It probably didn’t weigh up to the gains. How did they determine that? Science! Well, economics: cost-benefit analysis.

    Let’s go back to seatbelts. The science shows they save lives. no brainer. Should be easy to tell people that and they’ll do it of their own accord, right? The ones that care about living anyway. Turns out it doesn’t quite work like that, and some people need an added incentive to not die, like a traffic stop and a fine. Should the government be the business of ensuring the safety of its citizens at all times?

    In this case? Probably. You do know how we know people need additional incentive, right? Science! Psychology a bit, sociology an other important one. And again we come to economics and see that accidents without safety belts cost a lot of more money due to added injuries. Cost not only to insurances, but also to a loss of productivity in teh workforce. An added mouth to be fed by the government teat etc.

    Children drown not only in swimming pools every year but also – believe it or not – in buckets of water. To save these children should governments ban swimming pools and drill holes in all our buckets?

    Probably not feasible, but again science tells us the cost/benefit of running awareness campaigns to inform people of good pool security and to never let kids around pools unsupervised.

    I can keep going but I think you get the point.

    I can keep going but I don’t think you will ever get the point.

    Science can tell us about something but that doesn’t mean it can tell us what, if anything, to do about it.

    Actually, in all of the above cases it can, in these cases due to a magical thing called ‘cost/benefit analysis’. Really, we’re no longer in econ 101 territory, but in remedial econ.

  241. 741
    zenlike

    Remember Tom J when you talked about low-information voters?

    Well here we are, you spouting all kinds of bullshit about economics, and proving time and time again you don’t even grasp the very basics.

    I might be repeating myself here, but: tell me, Tom J, are you just dishonest here, or are you also unable to be honest with yourself?

  242. 742
    A. Noyd

    Tom J (# 729)

    I did misinterpret your comment, mostly because you either failed to [blah blah blah blaaaaah blah blah].

    Well, I guess I’m glad you can (kind of, sort of) admit you misinterpreted what I said, even if, in your pea brain, it’s somehow my fault you took my words to mean the exact opposite of what they explicitly said.

    By the way? I’m not trying to convince you of anything. (As far as repetitive and fruitless activities go, I’m having way more fun trying to play Diablo 3 through all four difficulty levels.) I’m merely pointing out to other people (such as PZ) that you should be removed from this thread for rules violations.

  243. 743
    Amphiox

    I wonder if Tom J even realizes that among the people responding to him are some who are actually trained in Economics?

  244. 744
    anteprepro

    Has Tom even shown that he understands externalities yet?

  245. 745
    Amphiox

    Children drown not only in swimming pools every year but also – believe it or not – in buckets of water. To save these children should governments ban swimming pools and drill holes in all our buckets?

    Another dishonest false binary dilemma of only extremes.

    Governments can do lots of things other than banning swimming pools from the regulatory standpoint. They could mandate a safety training course for people purchasing swimming pools, or require licensing for operating one. They could engage in a public education/information campaign. They could look into regulations with respect to bucket lid design and quality of manufacture.

    And whether each is or is not a good regulation can be determined objectively with a cost-benefit analysis.

    But the one thing that almost virtually guarantees disaster is for governments to not regulate swimming pools and buckets at all.

  246. 746
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Has Tom even shown that he understands externalities yet?

    Tom understand a polysyllable word? I don’t think he understands slogan or preacher.

  247. 747
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    Or “poor.”

  248. 748
    opposablethumbs

    He certainly does understand both “Gish” and “gallop”, though – this is an egregious (and textbook) example. I wonder if Tom really thought no-one would notice he has been roundly rebutted on the original topic if only he started desperately flinging out more and more side-tracks.

    Hey, he’s missing one! How about … gun control?!?? Now surely that shiny new topic will do a bang-up job of distracting everyone from the train wreck that is Tom’s defence of libertarianism – won’t it?

  249. 749
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    Back at #480, Tom J was pointing out that union growth showed that the US was not anything like a third world country (I tore that apart, but he ignored it (I feel like DDMFM!)). At #689, he seems to argue that unions are antithetical to economic freedom. But remember, he’s here to teach us.

  250. 750
    Tom J

    Zen -

    a magical thing called ‘cost/benefit analysis’.

    While it’s not magical, a cost benefit analysis can provide some limited insight, and the US government has mandated these analyses for its agencies for years. But they are not the end-all be-all.

    How do you value a human life, for example. Vice President Joe Biden told Congress during the gun control debate a year ago, “if your actions result in only saving one life, they’re worth taking.” Where does one life stand on the cost benefit analysis? When I mentioned kids drowning in pools and buckets you said awareness campaigns would probably be sufficient, according to science. Is it different based on the issue?

    And speaking of lives, lets go back to the abortion debate, what would a cost benefit analysis on this issue look like, and how would it value – or even define – life?

    How do you value a loss of freedom? Or the positive impact of diversity? Or any other abstract concept for that matter?

    Furthermore, here’s a twist I haven’t introduced yet – at what level of government should these various programs be initiated? Can science answer that question? Should seatbelt laws be national? State? Local?

    And once written, these laws are, well, laws and therefore the purview of lawyers, judges, and courts…one of the reasons a lot of our politicians are lawyers. What does science have to say about the law? Not too much.

    Are you starting to see the issues here? Look, I’m a skeptic and I have faith in science but I also understand that is has limitations and can’t describe everything in the universe – Sheldon Cooper notwithstanding.

  251. 751
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    But remember, he’s here to teach us.

    Yep, he is. By being a shining example of how not a frame an argument at Pharyngula. But I don’t think that is what Xe hopes to teach us. So far, he has said NOTHING I can learn from, which requires evidence from the academic (which excludes all Koch Family Funded Don’t Think Tanks). And I don’t think he can.

  252. 752
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    But remember, he’s here to teach us.

    And he’s doing it for free too, the traitor. Will somebody please think of the market!?

  253. 753
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    And speaking of lives, lets go back to the abortion debate, what would a cost benefit analysis on this issue look like, and how would it value – or even define – life?

    Easy. Bodily integrity is a HUMAN RIGHT. Women are full humans. Not so feti. You lose loser, as always, when you don’t understand the argument.

  254. 754
    Tom J

    Amphiox -

    And whether each is or is not a good regulation can be determined objectively with a cost-benefit analysis.

    Wrong. Good is a value judgement. You could approximate the costs and benefits of each course of action by doing a CBA, but that analysis would not tell you whether or not the course of action was “good.”

    It would also not tell you if it’s something government “should” do. Just because the assumed benefits outweigh the assumed costs doesn’t mean it’s something that “should” be the proper thing for government to do. That also is a value judgement.

  255. 755
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    How do you value a loss of freedom? Or the positive impact of diversity? Or any other abstract concept for that matter?

    What freedom? Nobody or anything has Absolute Freedom. It is always check on by responsibility. For example, freedom of speech is not an absolute. You say untrue things about people, they can and do sue your ass for slander and win. Same with all other “freedoms”. Judgements must be made. Your freedom to smoke ends halfway to my freedom from your smoke….

  256. 756
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    Good is a value judgement.

    The basics:

    Good is not starving to death.
    Bad is starving to death.

  257. 757
    zenlike

    Tom J

    You might have noticed how a put ‘magic between brackets. No, I know fully well cost-benefit analysis isn’t magic.

    How do we value a human life? Simple, we can calculate the cost of various measures and the benefits in lives saved, and then prioritise the measure that are the most cost-efficient compared to the benefits. Trying to distribute limited means in the most efficient ways is what economics is all about.

    Abortion debate: is a fetus an autonomous being? Biology has an answer to that, but you probably don’t like that answer.

    Level of government? Simple, it can be calculated for each measure which is the most cost-effective bevel of government. If seatbelt laws seem to be cost efficient, I see no point in each state trying to pass more or less the same law, and the federal level seems to be the most cost-efficient.

    Why wouldn’t science have nothing to say about the law? Law is not supernatural.

    And now we have come full circle, first it’s all ‘we have to be sceptic/we have to look at the numbers!’ Then: ‘science can provide almost no answers to any of these questions, value judgements!’. Now: ‘science can answer a lot, but has it’s limitations!’.

    Guess you can’t even be honest with yourself Tom.

  258. 758
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Good is a value judgement. You could approximate the costs and benefits of each course of action by doing a CBA, but that analysis would not tell you whether or not the course of action was “good.”

    Note always. Sometimes those good actions are spelled out.. You lose again abject loser. Try actually citing something to back up your fuckwittery. You might find in searching for a citation, you are full of bullshit, and regular shit, and smelly diarrhea shit.

  259. 759
    zenlike

    And good job on addressing my comments on the study you so desperately flogged up-thread.

  260. 760
    zenlike

    That last one was sarcasm by the way, just spelling it out since you seem so hell-bent on missing every point and every clue.

  261. 761
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    By the way Tom J, still waiting for an non-Koch-family-paid-for-and-delivered-paper that backs your allegations. Try the academic literature found here, with authors from academia. If you are actually literate….

  262. 762
    doublereed

    Where does one life stand on the cost benefit analysis?

    We do that too.

    It’s clear you know very little about economics or metrics. As I demonstrated earlier, you didn’t even know what an externality is, which is not surprising if you’re espousing simplistic free market ideas.

  263. 763
    Tom J

    Ogvorbis -

    Back at #480, Tom J was pointing out that union growth showed that the US was not anything like a third world country (I tore that apart, but he ignored it (I feel like DDMFM!)). At #689, he seems to argue that unions are antithetical to economic freedom. But remember, he’s here to teach us.

    I cited three paragraphs from a wikipedia article about the time period and said, based on those things, that it didn’t sound like a third world country – and it still doesn’t, for the record, you did nothing to “tear it apart.” Additionally, your question, and the union ‘debate’ was only tangentially relevant to the primary discussion so I didn’t pay it much mind.

    I didn’t argue that unions are antithetical to economic freedom, although I could. This woman has, though, and perhaps you would benefit from taking in a bit of her argument:

    http://www.deirdremccloskey.com

  264. 764
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    Tom J:

    I can keep going but I think you get the point.

    Please don’t. You’ve blathered long enough. Go masturbate to your free market fantasies elsewhere.

  265. 765
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Additionally, your question, and the union ‘debate’ was only tangentially relevant to the primary discussion so I didn’t pay it much mind.

    Translation, it refuted and shredded my argument, so I had to ignore it, since I can’t refute it with my own evidence, so I must pretend I’m not a total abject loser by ignoring shit that destroys my fuckwittery…..

  266. 766
    Pteryxx

    How do you value a loss of freedom? Or the positive impact of diversity? Or any other abstract concept for that matter?

    Diversity Linked to Increased Sales Revenue and Profits, More Customers

    Herring found that companies reporting the highest levels of racial diversity brought in nearly 15 times more sales revenue on average than those with the lowest levels of racial diversity. Gender diversity accounted for a difference of $599.1 million in average sales revenue: organizations with the lowest rates of gender diversity had average sales revenues of $45.2 million, compared with averages of $644.3 million for businesses with the most gender diversity.

    For every percentage increase in the rate of racial or gender diversity up to the rate represented in the relevant population, there was an increase in sales revenues of approximately 9 and 3 percent, respectively. Herring found racial diversity to be a better determinant of sales revenue and customer numbers than company size, the company’s age and the number of employees at any given work location.

    science!

  267. 767
    Tom J

    doublereed -

    You – and likely others – missed my sarcasm in relation to Joe Biden’s quote.

    As for externalities, you demonstrated no such thing, but thanks for playing.

  268. 768
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Additionally, your question, and the union ‘debate’ was only tangentially relevant to the primary discussion so I didn’t pay it much mind.

    Gee, this from a fuckwit who has shown no understanding of externalities, other than if we use the word, you must. But not knowing the definition and effects, you can only pretend anything other than ignorance. That will never, ever work here. Which if you were really paying attention, were cogent, and understood things, would have shut the fuck up days ago, as you were out of your league. Being a sub-bush leaguer in the majors.

  269. 769
    doublereed

    I demonstrated no such thing?

    What are you talking about? I gave an example of an externality with subway systems in post #656. But I can’t “demonstrate an externality.” What?

    Just frickin’ look it up. You’re on the internet.

  270. 770
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Dang, copypasta for the blockquote from TJ’s #767 didn’t. Didn’t preview. Sorry.

  271. 771
    doublereed

    Sorry, I should say I gave an example of externalities with the use of subway systems. Because you’re too lazy to find out what one is for yourself. In my example, the extra costs of cars and gas, pollution, and traffic are all externalities to not having a subway system.

    Stop being so fucking lazy. Jesus.

  272. 772
    Tom J

    Pteryxx -

    Wonderful. What does that have to do with government or public policy?

    The study argues against government intervention:

    Hirsh’s findings also suggest that organizational factors are more pivotal to race desegregation than legal intervention.

  273. 773
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    The study argues against government intervention:

    Gee, ever think those organizational factors are due to societal pressure AND the possibility of government intervention if complaints arose. Gee, are you truly dumb loser.

  274. 774
    zenlike

    Wow, still doubling down on those externalities Tom? Look, multiple people have tried to explain to you what they are. Econ 101 stuff, not that difficult. And you seem unwilling to learn anything new at all.

    Yes, I know I repeat myself over and over again, but maybe some day it would go through your thick skull: Tom, you can’t even be honest with yourself.

  275. 775
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Yes, I know I repeat myself over and over again, but maybe some day it would go through your thick skull: Tom, you can’t even be honest with yourself.

    Unfortunately, that is the problem with liberturdism. They can’t be honest….Tom J is no exception. NOTHING BUT SLOGANS TOM J.

  276. 776
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    Additionally, your question, and the union ‘debate’ was only tangentially relevant to the primary discussion so I didn’t pay it much mind.

    Wow. You are actually correct about something. I stated that the Gilded Age economy was, for workers, similar to a third world nation. You dropped some nonsense about progress and asked if that sounded like a third world nation. I noted what labour relations were like during that time, the way that government was used to suppress workers, the way that they had absolutely no economic freedom. Yeah. Tangential to your argument. Which I guess is why you Gish Galloped off in another direction.

  277. 777
    zenlike

    772 Tom J

    The study argues against government intervention:

    No it didn’t: it said that whether a company is large or not is a more important factor than the level of legal intervention.

    You do realise that not all companies are large?

    At most, the study said that legal interventions seems to be more needed in smaller companies, since larger ones seem to have less of a problem there.

    Can you actually read? Do you Actually understand these very simple things? Do you in fact have any clue whatsoever about anything?

  278. 778
    anteprepro

    Wonderful. What does that have to do with government or public policy?

    What does racial diversity in a place of business have to do with government policy? You pig-ignorant fuck.

    The study argues against government intervention:

    Bull fucking shit. You smarmy little piece of shit. Just look at what this fucker did with that quote. I bolded his portion and italicized every fucking thing that contradicts his interpretation of it:

    On the topic of equal employment opportunity, sociologist C. Elizabeth Hirsh of Cornell University analyzed the direct impact of discrimination charges on workplace segregation, as well as indirect pressures presented by legal and organizational environments. She found that companies do not desegregate in the wake of sexual discrimination charges filed directly against them, but they do respond to Equal Employment Opportunity enforcement in their industries and in the broader legal environment.

    Hirsh’s findings also suggest that organizational factors are more pivotal to race desegregation than legal intervention. For example, larger companies and those with more females in management were found more likely to promote workplace integration. Hirsh concludes that by making an example of employers found in violation of the law, Equal Employment Opportunity enforcement creates a legal environment that encourages policy compliance among other employers.
    Race discrimination lawsuits increase access to managerial jobs for African Americans , according to research from sociologist Sheryl Skaggs of the University of Texas at Dallas. Skaggs examined data on the supermarket industry from 1983 to 1998 and found that African Americans were more likely to enter management in the year following a lawsuit filing against a particular supermarket. Importantly, the initial increase in African American managers resulting from a lawsuit filing was shown to produce long-term benefits by bringing representation up to the industry average. Legal pressures from federal courts were also important. When circuit courts were made up predominantly of white males, they were less likely to create a legal climate signaling intolerance of workplace racial discrimination.

    Yes, Tom J is blatantly quote mining. But we are the creationists in this scenario! Riiiiight.

  279. 779
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Yes, Tom J is blatantly quote mining. But we are the creationists in this scenario! Riiiiight.

    *snicker*, as I said, a Preacher, meaning liar and bullshitter….

  280. 780
    Tom J

    doublereed -

    We’ve established that you understand externalities, but you failed to establish that I “didn’t even know what an externality is.”

    I understand the concept, and in places like New York or Washington D.C., subways not only make sense they likely could and probably should operate at a profit. I used to work on Capitol Hill – try to find any parking around the Capitol mall, it’s impossible. The Metro is the only way to get around. I’ve not lived in NYC but I’ve been to Manhattan, similar circumstances. I haven’t done the background research on these issues but I’m betting either or both systems could be privatized, operate on a profit, operate more efficiently, and not back the city streets of either city up with traffic.

    And while we’re on the subject of mass transit – what about the slug lines in and around the DC area? Talk about an externality. The government builds an HOV lane on I95 – a reasonable thing to do to encourage carpooling. And lo and behold, from the grass roots comes a system of organized hitchhiking where people jump into a car with strangers in order to avoid the I95 traffic and get to their destination quicker (hybrid sales also shot up in the area because those are allowed on the HOV lanes – or were when I lived there).

    No mandates, no coersion, just incentives.

    I understand the argument but the effect is limited in scope. Light rail in the Twin Cities, for example, where Barack Obama recently visited and I also used to live, will likely fail because the dynamics of that metropolitan area are completely different than NYC or DC. Ditto many of the other major cities across the country.

  281. 781
    zenlike

    So let me get this straight. The government build a highway lane with money coming from involuntary taxes. Then it uses the force of law to mandate that only vehicles which are filled with people can use this lane. People who don’t follow this rule can be fined.

    And ‘no mandates, no coercion’ was used.

    Do words mean anything resembling reality in your world Tom J?

  282. 782
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    I used to work on Capitol Hill – try to find any parking around the Capitol mall, it’s impossible. The Metro is the only way to get around.

    Citation needed liar and bullshitter. Nothing you say without citation will be believed. Your own track record here prevents any presumption you are right, except in your own delusional mind.

    I haven’t done the background research on these issues b

    Of course not, as the will show you and your idiotology are WRONG.

    No mandates, no coersion, just incentives.

    Gee, what a non-sequitur fuckwitted idjit. Nothing cogent claimed, just more presupposiition. Never mind the presupposition here is that you are4 full of bullshit without CITATIONS for your claims.

    Ditto many of the other major cities across the country.

    Who gives a shit about your already refuted OPINIONS? Nobody here, as you are proven liar and bullshitter, and must evidence every claim with third party evidence…Still the losing loser….

  283. 783
    anteprepro

    We’ve established that you understand externalities, but you failed to establish that I “didn’t even know what an externality is.”

    I understand the concept, and in places like New York or Washington D.C., subways not only make sense they likely could and probably should operate at a profit.

    Aaaaaaand FAIL. The point wasn’t whether it could operate at a profit, you fucking idiot. You just proved that you don’t know what externalities are or what doublereed was even talking about! And you would have had a vague idea too if you had just fucking read carefully! Did you ever contemplate the possibility that you are fucking stupid?

    . I haven’t done the background research on these issues but I’m betting either or both systems could be privatized, operate on a profit, operate more efficiently, and not back the city streets of either city up with traffic.

    What’s it like to have faith?

  284. 784
    anteprepro

    For those who want to get in on the laugh: the relevant comment is doublereed’s 656. Doublereed specifically says that if MassTransit was privatized and operated at a profit, this would result in less people taking the transit system (because the price would increase and supply and demand and such), which results in buying more cars, more traffic, more pollution, etc.
    As in: externalities.
    As in: externalities aren’t just about pure profit from one individual business entity.
    As in: Tom J is jaw-droppingly fuckwitted.

  285. 785
    zenlike

    You would guess that someone rational would have at this point at least have taken 2 minutes out of their busy schedule to just look up the word externalities on Wikipedia.

  286. 786
    anteprepro

    I didn’t argue that unions are antithetical to economic freedom, although I could. This woman has, though, and perhaps you would benefit from taking in a bit of her argument:

    http://www.deirdremccloskey.com

    I didn’t argue that libertarianism is nonsensical bullshit that no one with any semblance of logic, awareness of world, or sense of human decency would adhere to. This man has, though, and perhaps you would benefit from taking in a bit of his argument:

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/

  287. 787
    anteprepro

    You would guess that someone rational would have at this point at least have taken 2 minutes out of their busy schedule to just look up the word externalities on Wikipedia.

    He’s spending so much time faking being rational, that you would think he would do so just to keep up appearances! But, he didn’t even need to! He would have been able to glean the definition just by reading doublereed more carefully! But no, Tom J just assumed that doublereed was talking about how MassTransit couldn’t possibly make a profit, and that’s why it couldn’t be privatized, or something. Because Tom J doesn’t read or understand or reason. Tom J just flings and flails.

  288. 788
    irisvanderpluym

    Delurking to say: Youse guise are freakin awesome. Too bad the libturb chewtoy isn’t higher quality. Probably produced in poorly regulated conditions? Like most (all?) libturd chewtoys, methinks.

    *makes moar popcorn*

  289. 789
    Tom J

    anteprepo -

    You clearly have some anger issues. And some reading comprehension issues.

    For starters, there are several studies mentioned in the linked new article. The conclusion I quoted wasn’t even from the main study originally cited, and there’s another study which dominates the second half of the quote you produce.

    Secondly, nothing you produce in the expanded quotation disproves the quote I cited. Unless you’re arguing that the sentence I quoted is actually wrong, and is disproven by the rest of the paragraph, the author just threw that in there to trap people who, 4 years after the fact, would be arguing about it. I may have phrased my thought inelegantly, but the sentence I quoted means essentially the same thing, government (legal) intervention is less important than organization factors.

    If you’d like to argue that everything else in that paragraph is the real truth and that one specific sentence was a lie, please go ahead. That’s something I’d like to see.

    Also – it’s dangerous to put faith in media characterizations of studies – the actual study or studies would be nice to see.

    But it’s also distracting from the main issue which is – science can’t determine value judgements.

  290. 790
    zenlike

    Tom J @772:

    The study argues against government intervention:

    Tom J @789:

    government (legal) intervention is less important than organization factors.

    Keep on going Tom.

    But it’s also distracting from the main issue which is – science can’t determine value judgements.

    And round and round in circles you go.

  291. 791
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Secondly, nothing you produce in the expanded quotation disproves the quote I cited.

    Only in your delusional OPINION. Your OPINION is always dismissed as fuckwittery. It require a second citation from you to disprove it…..

    Also – it’s dangerous to put faith in media characterizations of studies – the actual study or studies would be nice to see.

    whereas your faith in all things liberturd, freedom, etc, must be respected without evidence *snicker. Sorry loser, your faith is delusional thinking on your part. Evidence is need to bring your OPINIONS up to even to be discussed standard.
    Still losing loser….

  292. 792
    Tom J

    antepro -

    For those who want to get in on the laugh: the relevant comment is doublereed’s 656. Doublereed specifically says that if MassTransit was privatized and operated at a profit, this would result in less people taking the transit system (because the price would increase and supply and demand and such), which results in buying more cars, more traffic, more pollution, etc.
    As in: externalities.
    As in: externalities aren’t just about pure profit from one individual business entity.
    As in: Tom J is jaw-droppingly fuckwitted.

    And for those of you with a brain – and want a laugh – I disagreed with Doublereed’s assumption that less people would use the mass transit system, because, Nerd of Redhead and everyone else who has never worked in Washington D.C. notwithstanding, in specific cities it is the only efficient way to get around.

    I’m suggesting – although I don’t know for certain – that Metro and subway prices in DC and NYC are relatively inelastic. I’m also assuming that a private company could find efficiencies in the Metro system that the government is unwilling or incapable of finding.

    Also, I was laughed at earlier for suggesting that all this name-calling amounted to harassment. At what point does it transition to harassment – I’ve been following the issues Rebecca Watson and others have been having within the skeptical community with harassment.

  293. 793
    zenlike

    792 Tom J

    And for those of you with a brain – and want a laugh – I disagreed with Doublereed’s assumption that less people would use the mass transit system

    Privatising mass transit => profit making becomes a factor => prices need to rise => higher prices means less consumptions.

    Really, remedial econ, look into it.

    And no I’m not laughing, even tough you are a joke.

  294. 794
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    Wait. Price goes up and sales remain the same? How does that explain Walmart?

    (From much earlier) During the Gilded Age, there were basically no taxes and no regulations on business so why were there (percentage wise) more poor people?

  295. 795
    Tom J

    zenlike –

    Privatising mass transit => profit making becomes a factor => prices need to rise => higher prices means less consumptions.

    Really, remedial econ, look into it.

    zen, watch out now but you’re dangerously close to making an argument based on free market principles. If the other people here catch you you’ll be in deep shit.

    In the meantime, however, you’re too busy distorting or ignoring my argument – I suggested that metro prices were relatively inelastic in DC or NYC. Want me to explain that concept to you or can you do the google search on your own?

  296. 796
    chigau (違う)

    At what point does it transition to harassment …

    You can stop the “harassment” you are experiencing here by not being here.
    No one here will follow you home.

  297. 797
    zenlike

    794 Ogvorbis

    Wait. Price goes up and sales remain the same?

    In Tom’s Magical Dream World (TM) every consumer has infinite money. I think I’m beginning to understand the problems in communications we are having…

  298. 798
    Rey Fox

    At what point does it transition to harassment

    Well, if it were to ever end up in your inbox or some other example of your personal space. But no, you just keep coming back here for more.

  299. 799
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    in specific cities it is the only efficient way to get around.

    This is an assertion, not a citation to third party evidence. Therefore, like EVERYTHING, you say, it is dismissed as your fuckwittery. Evidence means you cite or shut the fuck up. Because if you can’t cite, and won’t shut the fuck up, you give prima facie evidence you are a liar and bullshitter. And you need to show you actually worked in DC, not just assert it, which will be dismissed like all your ravings.

    At what point does it transition to harassment – I’ve been following the issues Rebecca Watson and others have been having within the skeptical community with harassment.

    When you actually put up, or shut the fuck up. Since you haven’t won’t do that, there is no harassment until you quit lying to us, by providing something other than your dismissed OPINION by showing third party evidence to back up your claims….

  300. 800
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    zenlike:

    In Tom’s Magical Dream World (TM) every consumer has infinite money.

    Well, only the real people. The ones with Freedom!

    Every situation any of us have come up with, Tom J responds as though he knows that he would be in the privileged class — he would prefer Pinochet’s Chile, or Rhee’s South Korea. I suspect that he is severely jealous of Putin’s Russia — minimal government regulation. freedom to break the law (as long as you are rich enough and on the right side of Putin), freedom to become really rich while actively and passively killing people.

  301. 801
    zenlike

    795 Tom J

    zen, watch out now but you’re dangerously close to making an argument based on free market principles.

    No not at all. Do you even understand what I wrote?

    I suggested that metro prices were relatively inelastic in DC or NYC.

    ‘Relatively’, probably, yes. What is the price of a ticket when it needs to turn a profit? Is the demand at that price going to remain exactly the same? Because that’s what you are arguing here, not relative in-elasticity but zero price in-elasticity.

    Want me to explain that concept to you or can you do the google search on your own?

    Don’t need to google-search it. Had plenty of price in-elasticity in my economy masters. But maybe you should google it, because you don’t seem to understand the difference between ‘relative’ inelastic and ‘totally’ inelastic.

    Have you looked up externalities yet?

  302. 802
    anteprepro

    For starters, there are several studies mentioned in the linked new article.

    Yes, and sentences still about the same study undermine your conclusion that it opposes government activity.

    Secondly, nothing you produce in the expanded quotation disproves the quote I cited.

    It disproves the inane and overly generalized conclusion you took from that quote, you simpering asswelt. Because you can’t “disprove” a quote, so I had no intention of doing so, and it is hardly worth bragging about my failure to do so.

    I may have phrased my thought inelegantly, but the sentence I quoted means essentially the same thing, government (legal) intervention is less important than organization factors.

    That’s great, and the other sentences disagree . Meaning that you bringing it up is a complete and utter dishonest distraction! Just like fucking everything else you say!

    But it’s also distracting from the main issue which is – science can’t determine value judgements.

    Case in point. It’s distractions all the way down with you. There is no main point! While you are galloping around anyway, why don’t we go back to how you were stupid and wrong in regards to the USPS? That might be fun!

    And for those of you with a brain – and want a laugh – I disagreed with Doublereed’s assumption that less people would use the mass transit system,

    Which is beside the point unless you are legitimately arguing that externalities do not exist. If that’s true, I suppose I was doing you a favor by assuming you were just misreading!

  303. 803
    anteprepro

    Also, I was laughed at earlier for suggesting that all this name-calling amounted to harassment. At what point does it transition to harassment

    The second we start tracking you down to your home turf to make fun of you, instead of making fun of you for the stupid shit you say when you are in ours.

  304. 804
    doublereed

    I understand the concept, and in places like New York or Washington D.C., subways not only make sense they likely could and probably should operate at a profit.

    There’s no way you’re that stupid. You must be trolling. Good day.

  305. 805
    anteprepro

    There’s no way you’re that stupid.

    Someone being stupid in order to advocate right-wing policies? It’s more likely than you’d think.

  306. 806
    anteprepro

    Me:

    The second we start tracking you down to your home turf to make fun of you, instead of making fun of you for the stupid shit you say when you are in ours.

    Also if we start making violent threats, sexual threats, threaten to expose information or misinformation to shame you, hack your webspaces, attempt to inconvenience you in your personal life, attempt to get other parties to deny you services, contact you out of the blue just to insult you for no reason over the course of weeks/months/years. Stuff like that.

  307. 807
    doublereed

    No, the concept and idea was explained and he came to a ridiculous conclusion that makes no sense with the concept of externality. He’s not lazy, he’s just a troll and doesn’t care. He’s clearly just having fun at everyone getting pissed at him. Shrug.

    There’s no reason for subways to operate on a profit even if they could. The whole point is to reduce externalities. In that sense, they already do operate on a profit. That’s why externalities are important. It can change something so dramatic like whether or not profit even matters.

  308. 808
    anteprepro

    He’s not lazy, he’s just a troll and doesn’t care. He’s clearly just having fun at everyone getting pissed at him. Shrug.

    Could very well be true. I honestly don’t understand the inner workings of a wingnut (and wingnut adjacent) mind enough to say anything about how they think with much confidence. I just know about when they don’t think.

  309. 809
    Tom J

    antepro -

    That’s great, and the other sentences disagree . Meaning that you bringing it up is a complete and utter dishonest distraction! Just like fucking everything else you say!

    Ok, so lets get this straight. The author of that article wrote every sentence to be accurate EXCEPT for a diabolically brilliant scheme to write one inaccurate, misleading sentence which all of the other sentences refute.

    Or we can go with Occam’s Razor version, that the other sentences don’t disagree but simply qualify the original sentence I quoted without changing it’s meaning. Once again, citing the original study and not a press account of it would be most helpful.

  310. 810
    Tom J

    doublereed -

    There’s no reason for subways to operate on a profit even if they could.

    Seriously?? There’s no reason for subways to operate at a profit even if they could? You’re really going to make this argument? And I’m the dishonest one…

  311. 811
    doublereed

    Did I stutter?

  312. 812
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    Tom J:

    Also, I was laughed at earlier for suggesting that all this name-calling amounted to harassment. At what point does it transition to harassment – I’ve been following the issues Rebecca Watson and others have been having within the skeptical community with harassment

    Oh For Fucks Sake!
    Get off your damned cross you arrogant fuckwit.
    To compare the treatment you’re receiving here to what Rebecca has endured for years is atrocious. You’re coming here voluntarily. Who is following your around online? Who is following you in meatspace? Who is sending you email after email? Who is showing up on your blog? Who has created videos to talk about you?
    All of that is before we even discuss your “treatment” here. You’ve come spouting libertarian bullshit using *one* non-credible source and refuse to budge from your ridiculous views despite having it explained over and over again how wrong you are.
    You’re not being harassed.
    You’re being mocked. And you deserve it you fool.

  313. 813
    anteprepro

    Ok, so lets get this straight….Or we can go with Occam’s Razor version, that the other sentences don’t disagree but simply qualify the original sentence I quoted without changing it’s meaning.

    Obviously Tom J is either too trollish or stupid to appreciate this, but here we go!

    Pterryx quotes Tom J saying:

    How do you value a loss of freedom? Or the positive impact of diversity? Or any other abstract concept for that matter?

    Pterryx introduces the article as:

    Diversity Linked to Increased Sales Revenue and Profits, More Customers

    Tom J responds in 772, saying:

    Wonderful. What does that have to do with government or public policy?

    The study argues against government intervention: [Insert one sentence quote here]

    Then I bring up the fact that the article does NOT argue against government intervention, because the context around that one sentence does not support such an idea!

    She found that companies do not desegregate in the wake of sexual discrimination charges filed directly against them, but they do respond to Equal Employment Opportunity enforcement in their industries and in the broader legal environment.

    Hirsh’s findings also suggest that organizational factors are more pivotal to race desegregation than legal intervention. For example, larger companies and those with more females in management were found more likely to promote workplace integration. Hirsh concludes that by making an example of employers found in violation of the law, Equal Employment Opportunity enforcement creates a legal environment that encourages policy compliance among other employers.

    Tom J can play all the semantic games he likes, but it is both a quote mine, and an obviously wrong conclusion derived from the article.

  314. 814
    anteprepro

    Seriously?? There’s no reason for subways to operate at a profit even if they could? You’re really going to make this argument? And I’m the dishonest one…

    LOOK. UP. EXTERNALITIES. YOU. FUCKWIT.

  315. 815
    Travis

    You’re not being harassed.
    You’re being mocked. And you deserve it you fool.

    I am not surprised that this fool doesn’t understand harassment any better than anything else they have been spouting. Their first post here started off claiming that the left wing people here were trying to silence the previous fool caesar. They have no knowledge of harassment, silencing, or economics. They are however pigheadead, arrogant, ignorant, and have a persecution complex.

  316. 816
    Tom J

    Tony -

    You’re not being harassed.
    You’re being mocked. And you deserve it you fool.

    Noted. I’ll try to explain that to the others the next time they are harassed…sorry…mocked for their views.

    I wonder if, as a social experiment, I would be treated differently were I posting under my real name.

    Or perhaps I’ve already done that…hmm…what a dilemma.

  317. 817
    anteprepro

    They have no knowledge of harassment, silencing, or economics. They are however pigheadead, arrogant, ignorant, and have a persecution complex.

    Which means Tom J is virtually guaranteed a seat in the House of Representatives for a Republican district, if he so desires to take it. Alternatively, he could become a pastor or priest. Basically the same thing.

  318. 818
    nich

    Worst Gotcha since that crappy movie with Anthony Edwards.

  319. 819
    nich

    AWWWWW SHIT. Wrong thread.

  320. 820
    doublereed

    LOOK. UP. EXTERNALITIES. YOU. FUCKWIT.

    The only reason he would look up externalities at this point is just so he could use that knowledge, twist it so it’s slightly wrong, and just piss you off more.

    Calm down. He’s being deliberately stupid. He’s a troll.

  321. 821
    anteprepro

    Tom J ignores this part of Tony’s reply:

    To compare the treatment you’re receiving here to what Rebecca has endured for years is atrocious. You’re coming here voluntarily. Who is following your around online? Who is following you in meatspace? Who is sending you email after email? Who is showing up on your blog? Who has created videos to talk about you?

    Again, Tom, you are not being harassed. For Pharyngula standards, you hardly are even being mocked particularly harshly.

  322. 822
    anteprepro

    Calm down. He’s being deliberately stupid. He’s a troll.

    (I’m not actually angry. I just play one on TV. Or something)

  323. 823
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    zen, watch out now but you’re dangerously close to making an argument based on free market principles. If the other people here catch you you’ll be in deep shit.

    Only in your delusional mind. We here know better. You are nothing but a liar and bullshitter. Nothing else matters.

  324. 824
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    Tom @816:

    Noted. I’ll try to explain that to the others the next time they are harassed…sorry…mocked for their views.

    I wonder if, as a social experiment, I would be treated differently were I posting under my real name.

    Or perhaps I’ve already done that…hmm…what a dilemma.

    Learn to read for comprehension. I gave examples of the harassment that Rebecca Watson has endured for years. You’ve received *none* of the treatment she has. There’s absolutely nothing to compare between
    the responses you’ve been getting in one thread on one corner of the internet that you keep choosing to return to
    and
    the repeated harassment of Rebecca Watson across multiple internet sites, as well as her own blog, and email over a period of YEARS.

  325. 825
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    But it’s also distracting from the main issue which is – science can’t determine value judgements. payment of a living wage.

    Fixed. When you start forgetting what your own bloody gish gallop was intended to obfuscate, you’re entering some kind of weird Twilight Zone meta-obfuscation that I don’t even want to try to untangle.

  326. 826
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    Tom J:

    I wonder if, as a social experiment, I would be treated differently were I posting under my real name

    Hmm, I’ve used my real name-Tony-as part of my nym here since I first started commenting. Looking at the way I’ve been treated over the years in contrast to the way you’ve been treated in this thread, it’s almost as if the nym you use has no bearing on the way people interact with you. Could the opinions you express play a role in how people respond to you?
    Silly me, that can’t be it.

  327. 827
    anteprepro

    When you start forgetting what your own bloody gish gallop was intended to obfuscate, you’re entering some kind of weird Twilight Zone meta-obfuscation that I don’t even want to try to untangle.

    You unlock this door with the key of obfuscation. Beyond it is another dimension – a dimension of sound, a dimension of fury, a dimension of signifying nothing. You’re moving into a land of both shadow and lack of substance, of things and bad ideas. You’ve just crossed over… into the Gibbertarian Zone.

  328. 828
    Amphiox

    But it’s also distracting from the main issue which is – science can’t determine value judgements.

    That’s not the main issue and it never was, you poor dishonest fapwit.

    The MAIN issue is and always was what are the REAL LIFE impacts of POLICIES (which may or may not have been honestly derived derived from different value judgements) on REAL LIFE people.

    A science sure can determine that.

    zen, watch out now but you’re dangerously close to making an argument based on free market principles. If the other people here catch you you’ll be in deep shit.

    zen’s arguments are reasonable and well thought out. Yours are not. How much market “principles” factor into them is not the issue.

  329. 829
    Tom J

    Tom J can play all the semantic games he likes, but it is both a quote mine, and an obviously wrong conclusion derived from the article.

    And antepro can play all the games he/she wants, but will still have to prove that the other sentences in that article conclusively disprove – instead of qualify – the sentence I quoted.

    In all seriousness, is this what our political discourse has devolved into? Lets consider the entirety of this thread. I make the relatively modest claim that freer countries are more prosperous countries and 700+ comments later we’re arguing about who misquoted whom. It’s madness. True believers behave this way – and yes, I understand that we can throw around accusations like that at each other all day with no resolution, but honestly and with an open mind take a look at the evidence. Which side in this debate has acknowledged critical points and attempted to work around them? Which side has identified the requirement for falsification of her assertions? Which side has engaged in name calling, othering, and suggestions to silence dissent? You all act as if holding political views which don’t conform to your own is an tantamount to treason. I say again: it’s madness. And because of my political views you find a reason to argue with literally everything I write, including this most likely. I urge you all to take a step back, take a deep breath, look critically at yourself and your views, and decide for yourselves if this level of debate meets with your standards.

    There’s a reason I brought up diversity in my earlier comment – arguably the most important facet of diversity is diversity of thought. There appears to be precious little of that on this blog. You are all up in arms about the concept as it relates to race, trans*, sex, etc., but diversity of thought – especially libertarian leaning thought – is to be suppressed. It’s partially my own fault – I knew what to expect visiting this blog, just as I would know what to expect walking into the Chicaro Club in Oklahoma. But it doesn’t excuse the behavior.

  330. 830
    anteprepro

    In all seriousness, is this what our political discourse has devolved into?

    I’m sorry that you are too daft to have an actual conversation with. Our fault entirely.

    arguably the most important facet of diversity is diversity of thought. There appears to be precious little of that on this blog.

    Teach The Controversy!

    (Again, just flat out assuming that the only way people can come to the same conclusions is via dogmatism. Lern 2 science)

    I knew what to expect visiting this blog, just as I would know what to expect walking into the Chicaro Club in Oklahoma.

    Yes, because we are just like religious homophobes. Totally.

    Take your cross with you on your way out.

  331. 831
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    Tom J:
    @792, 809, 829- their nym is not antepro. It’s anteprepro.

    __

    Back @772, you said this:

    The study argues against government intervention:

    which is wrong. As has been pointed out to you. The study does *not* argue against government intervention. You. Are. Wrong.

  332. 832
    PZ Myers

    Fucking hell. Tom J, you’re a liar.

    I make the relatively modest claim that freer countries are more prosperous countries

    Here’s your first comment. Do you think we’re too stupid to look?

    You endorsed Ayn Rand. You claimed socialism causes stagnation and decay. You said Obamacare was immoral because its creators don’t want to help people. You said a whole lot of stupid shit. And you’ve kept saying even more stupid shit.

    You are not debating honestly. You’re a liar, Tom J. I’m extremely close to outright banning you as not worth the time others have invested in you.

  333. 833
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    is this what our political discourse has devolved into?

    There is no discourse. You are preaching unevidenced fuckwittery, and being refuted with every post. Your idiotology is DOA, due to your stupidity about how this blog operates. You must backup your assertions with academic evidence, which, typically is MIA. Ergo, you mere opinion is laughed at and dismissed as stupidity.

  334. 834
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    You all act as if holding political views which don’t conform to your own is an tantamount to treason.

    Political views which do not view society, first and foremost, as a tool for helping all of its members, are immoral. Not as a tool for making financial profit; and especially not for a few to make profit while others starve. For making people’s lives better.

    Yeah, that’s a value judgement. I value human life and human dignity above money. Comrade.

  335. 835
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    There appears to be precious little of that on this blog.

    Gee, men, women, gays, straight, etc. are all telling you, you are full of shit. We are a diverse group. Unlike you, who appears to be WASP-staight-stupid fuckwit.

  336. 836
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    Tom J:

    There appears to be precious little of that on this blog. You are all up in arms about the concept as it relates to race, trans*, sex, etc., but diversity of thought – especially libertarian leaning thought – is to be suppressed.

    Criticism=suppression?

    In the time I’ve been posting here, I’ve seen a few libertarians magically leave comments. Some have even left many, many comments. Very often those comments contain views that have been criticised by other commenters. The views were not suppressed in any way. Nor have yours.
    Is there some reason that libertarianism is not to be criticised?

  337. 837
    anteprepro

    @792, 809, 829- their nym is not antepro. It’s anteprepro.

    I think he got it right once!
    And thanks for clarifying, though I do not really care if someone butchers my nym! It is basically just arbitrary nonsense I have no particular personal connection to. Because that’s just how I live my life.

    But I am definitely glad to have someone back me up on that argument. I know most people don’t chime in cases like that either because they think it is a minor point or because they think it is so obvious that the person is lying that they don’t think it is relevant to bring up. But whenever I point out something like that, and the troll just blatantly denies it, repeatedly….I just start to question my own sanity a little bit! Glad to get a little outside reassurance now and then!

  338. 838
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    Monitor note:
    Please remember to read the previous comments before you make one of your own.

    You may be banned from a comment thread if:
    Your comments are repetitive, especially if you repeat arguments that have already been addressed.
    You demonstrate that you are unwilling to have read previous comments or the opening post.

    The Rules

  339. 839
    anteprepro

    I’m extremely close to outright banning you as not worth the time others have invested in you.

    We should find a way to let the Free Market decide whether he is worth the investment :P

  340. 840
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    As a personal message, Tom J, I encourage you to read the commenting rules.

    Monitors have no special privileges, just responsibilities, save for one thing: our e-mails tend to get read by PZ faster since he knows we might be trying to bring his attention to something important.

    But PZ’s attention is already on you. If you actually want to engage with others, step back and learn the community standards before you continue. When you do comment, actually address the points raised by others. When you’re alone against a number of regulars, you need to ask yourself why and whether you might be running afoul of standard rules, expected attitudes, and default courtesies. Though in my experience he doesn’t like using the banhammer, he will. We’d all rather have actual, factual, honest debates than shine our fangs on chew toys. That’s when the best of us in a given topic really shine and the rest of us really learn.

    You’ve burned through a lot of good will. Unless you’re trying to force PZ’s hand to the banhammer, you really need to change something fast.

  341. 841
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Tom J, in case you are interested we have had a steady infestation of liberturds since six months before the 2008 election. None of them, including you, have been able to show that liberturdism is used in any first world country in the last 100 years. The silence is deafening. Which is why you will get nowhere here. First, show the evidence it works as claims, which is historical data. That which you have presented so far is distorted and not of the quality necessary. Because it doesn’t exist.
    The first world countries look at the consequences of their policies for the most part. This saves idiotlogical catastrophes that occur when theory attempts to pretend to be reality.
    Liberturdism is a theology, without any historical basis to be taken serious based on the consequences. That’s what history says, and you haven’t refuted history.

  342. 842
    Rey Fox

    Oh, you LOVE it.

  343. 843
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    I had no idea what the Chicaro Club is. I just looked it up.
    How can you even think that you’ve been treated in any way that is similar to Gary James’ history of bigotry and discrimination?
    You aren’t the goddamn victim here. Don’t you dare minimize bigotry and discrimination by comparing it to your well deserved criticism you assclam.
    Fuck you Tom J.

  344. 844
    Rey Fox

    you assclam.

    *gasp* Othering!

  345. 845
    A. Noyd

    I bet Tom J’s real name is Erik Collins.

  346. 846
    ChasCPeterson

    You may be banned from a comment thread if:
    Your comments are repetitive,

    unless you are Nerd.

  347. 847
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    anteprepro:

    I know most people don’t chime in cases like that either because they think it is a minor point or because they think it is so obvious that the person is lying that they don’t think it is relevant to bring up. But whenever I point out something like that, and the troll just blatantly denies it, repeatedly….I just start to question my own sanity a little bit! Glad to get a little outside reassurance now and then!

    No worries. I know it might be a minor point or obvious lie, but it was Item No.27834 under “Examples of Tom J’s dishonesty”.

  348. 848
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    @Chas, 846:

    D’oh! It’s funny because it’s true!

  349. 849
    anteprepro

    I love how Tom J just flat out claims that “discrimination” against ideas is WORSE than any kind of discrimination. I mean, really.

    Tony:

    I had no idea what the Chicaro Club is. I just looked it up.

    Yeah, Tom J really shows his true colors even more with each post. Just when you think he get any true-er…

  350. 850
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    A. Noyd @845:
    Thank you for that link (finally learned why our limbs go to sleep, which I’d been curious about for a while).

  351. 851
    anteprepro

    No worries. I know it might be a minor point or obvious lie, but it was Item No.27834 under “Examples of Tom J’s dishonesty”.

    Truth.

    unless you are Nerd.

    The benefit of getting a Pharyngula Platinum membership.

  352. 852
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    Did anyone else read A. Noyd’s link @845 and think; “I’ve done that… and that…”?

    Shit.

  353. 853
    chigau (違う)

    Sven
    why do you bother?

  354. 854
    Rey Fox

    why do you bother?

    Somebody’s gotta do it.

  355. 855
    vaiyt

    I make the relatively modest claim that freer countries are more prosperous countries

    And then define “free” and “prosperous” in order to fit your pre-made conclusions.

    The Cato Institute study itself lumps Japan, Yemen, Sweden, Peru, the UK and the US, countries with wildly varying rates of government intervention and tax rates, among the top nations in the “freedom” index, while you try to use it as an argument against taxes and government intervention. You can’t even understand the data you are using yourself.

  356. 856
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    vaiyt:

    You can’t even understand the data you are using yourself.

    You should stop suppressing Tom J.
    Otherwise, you’re as bad as the nasty bigots trying to pass anti-gay laws.

    At least according to Tom J’s poorly evidenced sincerely held religious beliefs.

  357. 857
    Tom J

    PZ –

    Fucking hell. Tom J, you’re a liar.

    Here’s your first comment. Do you think we’re too stupid to look?

    You endorsed Ayn Rand. You claimed socialism causes stagnation and decay. You said Obamacare was immoral because its creators don’t want to help people. You said a whole lot of stupid shit. And you’ve kept saying even more stupid shit.

    You are not debating honestly. You’re a liar, Tom J. I’m extremely close to outright banning you as not worth the time others have invested in you.

    With all due respect PZ, you’re wrong. Here is the relevant paragraph from that comment:

    Rand laid out the moral case for libertarianism in Atlas Shrugged, and were she a better novelist the argument may have come across better. But it essentially boils down to this – wherever you see free people and free markets, prosperity flourishes. Wherever you see socialism or communism or public policies that tilt significantly in that direction, stagnation or decay results (with the lower classes of society being hit the hardest).

    Sounds very close, but not completely identical, to:

    I make the relatively modest claim that freer countries are more prosperous countries

    I subsequently evidenced that claim with the Cato study and we’ve been arguing around the edges of that ever since.

    I did not endorse Rand – I do agree with some of her ideas but I’m certainly not an acolyte – I simply laid out in simplistic terms what I thought her argument is in Atlas Shrugged.

    I did not say Obamacare is immoral because it’s creators don’t want to help people, in fact I said exactly the opposite, twice:

    Obamacare is immoral, in my view, not because it’s creators and supporters don’t want to help people (I won’t disparage their intentions, which I believe to be good)….But in most areas – health care included – [progressives and libertarian's] intentions are similar if not exactly the same, only the methods differ.

    Note the theme of that first comment was essentially that libertarians and progressives have the same intentions – good intentions! – but the left has a lock on the “I care” debate and portrays those who disagree as not just wrong but evil. So for me to argue that the creators of Obamacare didn’t want to help people wouldn’t make any logical sense.

    You’re correct that I also noted wherever you see socialism or communism or public policies that tilt significantly in that direction, stagnation or decay results. I’ll point out that this hasn’t been a point of contention in this thread, at least I don’t remember anyone arguing that this isn’t true. And I don’t think anyone has argued the converse, that socialism causes prosperity.

    Finally – in my first paragraph I was essentially agreeing with your original post that libertarians who think this way about the civil war are wacky, but I also make the point that they are a small subset and there are wacky people on either end of the political spectrum.

    This being your blog you’re obviously free to ban me anytime you wish for whatever reason – to include respectfully disagreeing with the proprietor and providing evidence for my disagreement. But lying and not debating honestly shouldn’t be the reason.

  358. 858
    Tom J

    And speaking of dishonest debate:

    The Cato Institute study itself lumps Japan, Yemen, Sweden, Peru, the UK and the US, countries with wildly varying rates of government intervention and tax rates, among the top nations in the “freedom” index, while you try to use it as an argument against taxes and government intervention. You can’t even understand the data you are using yourself.

    I have not tried to use this data to argue against taxes. In fact we’ve rarely if at all discussed tax rates in this thread and I’ve not argued for a specific tax rate. We have argued considerably about government regulation, and the only argument I’ve made is: zero regulation is not possible or desirable, but in general less regulation is better than more regulation.

    In the study, tax rates and government intervention (I think you meant to say regulation) are two factors among many, which include: size of government, legal system and property rights, sound money, freedom to trade internationally, and regulation, with each broad category subdivided into many more metrics.

    I don’t know what country rankings you’re looking at, but in the study I cited Yemen is #116 and not even in the same time zone as the others. Sweden is #21 (but note their size of government rank is #118), Peru is #29 (with a legal and property rights rank of #87), Japan is #32 (size of government rank #97), UK is #9 (size of government rank #98), and the US is #17 (all using the unadjusted ratings, as that was the only ranking Yemen was given).

    So, in fact, the data appears to take into account your criticism given that four of the countries score very low for size of government, one for their legal and property rights, and yet still come out relatively high on the overall scale, making up for their low scores with higher scores in other areas.

    And also note that these rankings are relative. There are 152 nations in the study, and you’ve cited 5 that are in the top 32 (and one that is in the bottom 36). But there are many more countries like Vietnam and Venezuela and others much lower overall scores, as you would expect. I’ve made this argument once and now is a good time to repeat it – I’m making a broad, worldwide point about freedom and prosperity. If you’ve made it into the top 32 on this scale you’re very likely doing pretty well and I’m less concerned about these countries.

    I’m much more concerned with the countries in the bottom 36, that’s where we see the most suffering in the world. And if you’re concerned about helping those countries emerge from the poverty in which they find themselves mired, then according to this data you should champion free market reforms for them.

  359. 859
    zenlike

    857 Tom J

    I subsequently evidenced that claim with the Cato study and we’ve been arguing around the edges of that ever since.

    I see you still didn’t have addressed my criticisms I posted a couple of 100 posts above.

    But just keep pretending that you are actually a honest debater here, if that helps you to sleep at night.

  360. 860
    Amphiox

    We have argued considerably about government regulation, and the only argument I’ve made is: zero regulation is not possible or desirable, but in general less regulation is better than more regulation.

    A study that puts Sweden and the United States in the same category CANNOT be honestly used to make this argument.

    It is also not the “only ” argument you made, you fapwitted liar, nor did your argument in the beginning ever include the “in general” qualifier. In case you forget, the stuff you post on this archive is available for everyone to read.

  361. 861
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    Tom J:

    We have argued considerably about government regulation, and the only argument I’ve made is: zero regulation is not possible or desirable, but in general less regulation is better than more regulation.

    Even if less regulations leads to FUCK THE ENVIRONMENT?

  362. 862
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    Tom J- libertarian apologist for corporations everywhere.

    Yeah, that’s great to have on one’s resume.

  363. 863
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    Tom J:

    I guess you missed this:

    There appears to be precious little of that on this blog. You are all up in arms about the concept as it relates to race, trans*, sex, etc., but diversity of thought – especially libertarian leaning thought – is to be suppressed.

    Criticism=suppression?

    In the time I’ve been posting here, I’ve seen a few libertarians magically leave comments. Some have even left many, many comments. Very often those comments contain views that have been criticised by other commenters. The views were not suppressed in any way. Nor have yours.
    Is there some reason that libertarianism is not to be criticised?

    and this:

    Back @772, you said this:

    The study argues against government intervention:

    which is wrong. As has been pointed out to you. The study does *not* argue against government intervention. You. Are. Wrong.

    How will the liberturd avoid admitting he was wrong *this* time?

  364. 864
    irisvanderpluym

    Liberturdianism can never fail: it can only be failed. Dontcha know.

  365. 865
    Tom J

    In the time I’ve been posting here, I’ve seen a few libertarians magically leave comments. Some have even left many, many comments. Very often those comments contain views that have been criticised by other commenters. The views were not suppressed in any way. Nor have yours.
    Is there some reason that libertarianism is not to be criticized?

    I’ve been called an idiot, a fuckwit, a liar, a liberturd (most recently by you), and an apologist for corporations everywhere (also by you), among many many other things. Several people, including the proprietor of this blog, have suggested banning me and in the latter case his stated reasons were, as I demonstrated, untrue. It’s been very clear from the beginning that my ideas were not welcome here and would be constantly twisted and ridiculed instead of being addressed seriously, although there have been pockets of serious criticism which I welcome. My views have not – yet – been literally suppressed in that I’ve still been allowed to voice them here. But I’ve been harassed IRL, and the behavior was very similar. So sure, in a sense I guess you’re right. So far.

    How will the liberturd avoid admitting he was wrong *this* time?

    I wasn’t wrong. The statement I quoted was accurate, and qualified by the subsequent sentences of the piece. I already said I phrased my sentence inelegantly, but quoting the rest of that paragraph doesn’t significantly change the meaning of it’s opening sentence, and the rest of the supposed “evidence” that I had quote-mined actually came from an entirely different study.

  366. 866
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    Monitor Note:

    You may be banned from a comment thread if:
    You cannot control your posting habits, and are dominating the discussion.
    Your comments are repetitive, especially if you repeat arguments that have already been addressed.
    You demonstrate that you are unwilling to have read previous comments or the opening post.

    You may be confined to only posting on Thunderdome threads if:
    Your ideas qualify you to be a good chewtoy for our more argumentative commenters.

    You will be banned from the blog if:
    You have a known reputation as an internet troll

    Recommended attitudes:
    This is a rude blog. Expect rough handling.

    [The rules]

  367. 867
    anteprepro

    With all due respect PZ, you’re wrong.

    He was wrong? The key point was that your focal point was just that one “modest claim”, bullshitter. Endorsing Rand, lambasting Obamacare as “immoral”, and bashing socialism as universally bad aren’t “modest claims”. You try to cast yourself as a moderate. Do you even understand how tainted your views are by right-wing propaganda? Or is it just easier for you to ignore that, and pretend that because you are slightly less conservative than a Republican, that suddenly you therefore in The Middle Ground?

    I’ve been called an idiot, a fuckwit, a liar, a liberturd (most recently by you), and an apologist for corporations everywhere (also by you), among many many other things.

    Which isn’t suppression or silencing or censorship. Criticism, even if it involves OH NOES insults, is just criticism. It isn’t silencing, obviously, because we are still letting shit out of your mouth, all over the place.

    I already said I phrased my sentence inelegantly,

    That’s a blatantly evasive way to avoid actually acknowledging error, while also tacitly admitting that you can’t defend your ridiculous position as stated. You were wrong. Period. Suck it up.

  368. 868
    PZ Myers

    Tom J: You are now reduced to reparsing and misrepresenting your old comments in ever finer detail. That’s a fine example of wanking on the internet: stop it now.

    You’ve got nothing new to say, and you’re ignoring criticisms…or pretending you didn’t say what you said. You will not participate in this thread any further. If you can’t control yourself and blather on, you will be banned.

  369. 869
    anteprepro

    the rest of the supposed “evidence” that I had quote-mined actually came from an entirely different study.

    Did you happen to ever note your one sentence mined quote that was supposedly your refutation of Pterryx was also from an entirely different study mentioned in that article? Ever note that the study you mention was by Hirsh, whereas the study that the article was focused on was one by Herring? Did you ever happen to acknowledge that issue? Or are you just a dishonest little fuck trying any little desperate, pathetic argument they can muster to squirm out of the hole you’ve dug for yourself?

  370. 870
    Tom J

    Amphiox -

    A study that puts Sweden and the United States in the same category CANNOT be honestly used to make this argument.

    I think what you meant to say was, they can’t possibly both rank in the top third of the Cato freedom study because their government systems are so different. (See what I did there? I didn’t ridicule you for the actual sentence you wrote and instead chose the most charitable interpretation of what you wrote and will argue my point from there. This is what people who are sincerely trying to understand each other do.)

    A curious observer might have wondered whether or not the dataset for the study was available online. Turns out it is, here:

    http://www.freetheworld.com/datasets_efw.html

    That same observer might wonder if they publicized their methodology. Turns out they do:

    http://www.cato.org/pubs/efw/efw2013/efw-2013-appendix.pdf

    Sweden, in each of the 5 categories, has scores of : 3.6, 9.2, 9.64, 8.18, 7.84, 9.78 (5A), 5.81 (5B), and 7.86 (5C).

    Those numbers average out, in 2010 (last year of data on the spreadsheet) to 7.69. The country’s lowest score of 3.6 is due to the size of their government (which encompasses government consumption, transfers and subsidies, government enterprises and investment, and the top marginal tax rate).

    This very low score is made up for in the study by very high scores in the areas of sound money and regulation – I’ll let you look up those metrics for yourself. So despite your assertion that these two countries cannot possibly both rank in the top third – based on the methodology they do. (The US has scores of 6.43, 7.12, 9.68, 7.93, 7.64, 6.95, 8.91, and 7.03, for a total of 7.76. Higher in some metrics, lower in others).

    And if you want more government regulation or intervention in the economy in the US – this is a good thing! It’s actually amazing to me that none of you, especially the ones who have charged me with not understanding the data I cited, haven’t picked up on this (or maybe it’s not that amazing). The data argues that the US could drop a few more spots than it already has in the rating and still be ok.

    So there you go – I made your case for you, even though it was an entirely different case than you intended on making.

  371. 871
    PZ Myers

    Ho hum. Big warning in red letters, just above your post, put there a half hour before you made your last repetitious screed…I guess we can see that you aren’t bothering to read anything here.

    HEY, TOM J, DUMBASS!

    Bye.

  372. 872
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    @Tom J:

    PZ laid out something simple for you:

    You will not participate in this thread any further. If you can’t control yourself and blather on, you will be banned.

    And you just couldn’t control yourself and blathered on.

    You come into PZ’s living room and he says, I don’t like you a whole lot, but I’m having a party and you’re welcome too, just don’t smoke in the house. Your next act is lighting a conspicuously large cigar.

    When PZ kicks you out of his house, is he suppressing the rights of cigar smokers? Is he killing off freedom of speech? Is his party a sham b/c he said anyone could come but then kicked you out?

    Think on that before you run away telling your stories about how PZ hates freedom of speech and insists on ideological purity. You had only to refrain from commenting on **one single thread** with the whole rest of the blog open to you. You could even have continued **this very conversation** in the ThunderDome.

    But rules? They aren’t for libertarians. Libertarians loves them some freedom.

    Enjoy your peach sorbet garnished with sour grapes in some other space. You won’t be missed.

  373. 873
    anteprepro

    He was gonna continue to cry persecution no matter what happened. Now you finally have something to really cry about Tom J! I’m sure you will easily find the crowd who will be sympathetic to your crocodile tears.

  374. 874
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    Tom J:
    Before I respond to your whiny comment @865, I have to point out that you failed to respond to the points I was making.
    Notably, you stated back @772, that the study Pteryxx linked to @766 argues against government intervention. That’s only true in the land of Libertarian Fuckwits Who Cherry Pick Evidence. When you actually read the study, you see, quite clearly that it doesn’t argue against government intervention, as already pointed out to you. My point with harping on this has been to try to get it through your thick head that you’re wrong. You haven’t admitted that yet. And yes, my SIWOTI Sense is tingling and won’t shut off yet.

    The other point I was alluding to @863 is that in the marketplace of ideas, libertarianism is not off limits to criticism. There are a host of valid criticisms against that horrible ideology, yet you seem to think it shouldn’t be critiqued. Despite asking you why this is so, you completely dodged and went on your whiny, persecuted rant.

    I’ve been called an idiot, a fuckwit, a liar, a liberturd (most recently by you), and an apologist for corporations everywhere (also by you),

    You’ve been espousing libertarians ideas all over this thread. Libertarianism is an empathy deficient ideology with views that-if put into place-would devastate the lives of countless people. I make no apologies for expressing my disgust with that philosophy nor those who embrace it.

    That still doesn’t mean you’re being harassed.
    It also doesn’t make you anything like Rebecca Watson, or queers who have been discriminated against.
    How fucking big is that cross?

    among many many other things. Several people, including the proprietor of this blog, have suggested banning me and in the latter case his stated reasons were, as I demonstrated, untrue. It’s been very clear from the beginning that my ideas were not welcome here and would be constantly twisted and ridiculed instead of being addressed seriously, although there have been pockets of serious criticism which I welcome.

    First of all, are you really complaining that PZ has threatened to ban you? Oh dear, that would mean that you wouldn’t be able to share your opinions with those of us who comment here. What would we do if we were bereft of your babbling? What would *you* do? How would you cope if a corner of the internet was walled off to you by the person who owns it?

    Last time I checked Pharyngula is PZ’s blog.

    You aren’t the first person to come here shitting all over the carpet with their libertarian BS. I’m ever so sorry you weren’t treated as a Special Snowflake. To a large degree, you’re right-your views aren’t welcome here (though there are some people who pop up infrequently espousing or defending the same things you do) and there’s a reason for that. However, you’ve not been silenced by any of the commenters. You’ve successfully turned this thread into Tom J’s Libertarian Wank-Fest, so you cannot argue that you’re being silenced or that your ideas have been suppressed. You’ve been free to express them, and you have. Over and over again.

    Now you’re playing at being some type of victim, which would make you one of those victims who hasn’t actually suffered from anything (you know, like the christians in the US who cry about persecution). People have criticized your ideas and mocked you at length, so of course that means you’re being oppressed, suppresed, and silenced. Just bc you have beliefs doesn’t automatically make them reasonable. Having a belief doesn’t mean others are entitled to respect that belief. If you can’t deal with that, then perhaps you shouldn’t share your beliefs in public.

    But I’ve been harassed IRL, and the behavior was very similar. So sure, in a sense I guess you’re right. So far.

    Not in a sense.
    I am correct on this.
    Even though you attempt to concede my point, you still try to twist and contort your treatment here.
    You say the behavior here is similar to the way you’ve been treated in meatspace? All that means is that you’ve shared your beliefs in public and they’ve been criticized and mocked by other people expressing their disgust with your views. For your treatment here to be similar to anything in meatspace, you’d have to continue going to the same spot and sharing your same views over and over again, all while being called names like “liberturd” or “assclam” and being mocked and derided. Is that what happened? If it is, I can’t see how that counts as harassment.

    Given that no one here has stalked you, uncovered your email address to send you a barrage of messages, discovered your home address or place of employment, followed you to your blog, created YouTube videos all about you, or done anything similar to harassment, I’m having a hard time believing the harassment you received in meatspace is anything similar to how you’ve been treated here.

    Take your goddamned martyr complex and piss off.

  375. 875
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    Drat.

  376. 876
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    @Tony!

    May one assume the “Drat” is in reference to the banning?

    Fear not, noble warrior! Thine “piss off”s and sarcasm shall not be wasted. The Tom Js of this land are too, too narcissistically compulsive ever to desist in reading anything mention their cherished selves. Such a Knight of the Order of Hoggle shall certainly consume your philippic ere long.

  377. 877
    SallyStrange

    Well that was entertaining.

  378. 878
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    Tony!

    Still an’ all, that was an excellent rant, and the dismount was perfection.

  379. 879
    Rey Fox

    But I’ve been harassed IRL, and the behavior was very similar.

    Oy ge-fucking-valt.

  380. 880
    What a Maroon, el papa ateo

    Too late to the party, as always. Still, Tom J’s given me an excellent idea for a business plan.

    1. Find a big city without decent public transportation (San Diego? Honolulu?).
    2. Build a subway system.
    3. Profit!

    Who’s in on it with me?

  381. 881
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    1. Find a big city without decent public transportation (San Diego? Honolulu?).
    2. Build a subway monorail system.
    3. Profit!

  382. 882
    anteprepro

    Daz wins!

  383. 883
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    Twice in one thread? Is that allowed? Still… any excuse for a beer.

  384. 884
    What a Maroon, el papa ateo

    Brilliant, Daz.

  385. 885
    zenlike

    Well, the joke had a rather long build-up, but after 880 comments, comment 881 made it worth it.

  386. 886
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    You know it will work, because if San Diego doesn’t *make* it work, well, they’ll just build it in Shelbyville!

  387. 887
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Ah, poor little snowflake got banhammered. *sends in the Pullet Patrol HazMat unit for clean-up*

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