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Old 04-16-2018, 01:44 PM   #201
Tyrone Slothrop
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Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 30,844
Re: We are all Slave now.

Originally Posted by sebastian_dangerfield View Post
That's not at all what I said. I said when a democracy allows the rich, or the poor, or the middle class, to liberally vote themselves transfers, it's on the road to bankruptcy.
No. You weren't talking about the rich. We all understand that the rich are well represented in government. (Indeed, your essential point about Trump's election victory has been that many of us don't understand the extent to which ordinary people are alienated by the fact that the government isn't doing anything for them.) Every government, democracy or otherwise, involves what you call transfers. Usually it's the rich exploiting everyone else. Libertarianism is a version of this, a (hypothetical) regime where government focuses on protecting private-property rights instead of more overtly serving the rich and powerful. Obviously, rich people are happy with a system that serves their interests and not other peoples. However, it's hard to defend on principle, which is why you said,

Originally Posted by sebastian_dangerfield View Post
... if you create a system where people vote themselves benefits, they'll do so until the system collapses. ... True democracy is a universal disaster. No exceptions.
"No exceptions" implied that it has actually happened. But,

Originally Posted by sebastian_dangerfield View Post
I can't give you an example of a pure democracy that fell. But I didn't offer one, either.
Exactly. You have gone from arguing that it always happens to saying that it would happen if it were actually tried. In other words, the rich should continue to run government for their own interests, because if people were represented equally the government would collapse. The rich can be trusted to exploit everyone responsibly, but ordinary people cannot be. It's not a principled argument for libertarianism so much as a scare tactic.

Originally Posted by sebastian_dangerfield View Post
The financial crisis and its cure (which further galvanized class divisions) destroyed trust at almost all levels and stoked the class envy that led to Trump.
Bankers got bailed out and middle-class homeowners did not. Coincidence, or a result of the clout that bankers have and middle-class homeowners do not? It's odd to see you on both sides of this one simultaneously. And again:

Originally Posted by sebastian_dangerfield View Post
Salary disparities like those between teachers and merchant class professionals result from policy choices, not pure market dynamics. We could pay teachers a ton and lawyers like shit. The average teacher could go to law school and do what we do. We've decided to set up a license leveraging system (Milton Friedman's term for law and other non-hard science/non-physical-trade professions requiring licensure) that has caused the value of lawyers to rise much higher than that of teachers. That could be cured.
Coincidence, or the predictable result of the government we have? Does it not seem that a government in which all interests were more equally represented would do more to advance public education than our current system? Thanks to libertarians and their fellow travelers, teacher pay has been suppressed by years of tax cuts.

You can identify the problem, again and again, but then you come back to the fear that government might try to do something about it:

Originally Posted by sebastian_dangerfield View Post
I think all government has authoritarian tendencies within it. For this reason, I think it's healthy to always distrust it. And be thoroughly suspicious of those who seek to work in politics. ... You can only give the people so much power. It has to be checked or men will simply vote for policies that aid themselves until the thing craters. Tragedy of the Commons at the voting booth. Applies to the rich, the poor, the middle... literally everyone. Equally.
So you say, but your answer is to reserve the power to those who already have it.
ďAbove Hank and owning it"
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