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« "Photography's ambivalent posture" | Main | "Everything I designed was unnecessary" »

July 17, 2008


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An excellent presentation of the choices we have to make. Things seem to go in cycles, be it global cooling and global warming or allowing freedom of human behavior or exercising repressive control. Unfortunately, it seems that currently we may be in a repressive cycle. Let us hope it is short lived.

Such an excellent post.

Well done.

In the most simplistic manner, when encountering the passionate socialist - communist of a strong Democrat Partisan mindset, who advocates for this paternalism, I try to ask a few modest questions...

"Do you oppose monopolies?"

Usually the answer is 'yes'.

"So, why would you want to encourage making a massive monopoly to control everything within our Government?"

Of course, the reality of taking the capital out of everyone's hands to 'share' is so naively ideal to the emotive thinker, who has not truly analyzed why these systems always empower the few over the many.

How one cannot see the oppressive nature of giving the state everything, (for the common good), after the endless historic failures, is truly stunning.

Either way, on a related but someone off the topic item, I truly appreciated this accurate INVESTOR'S BUSINESS DAILY oped:
Feckless To Reckless, Pelosi Should Resign

I caught a bit of newsreel from the '32 conventions this morning. FDR used the C-word four times in one minute!

Good post but I get so tired of talking about these people as though they were just misled or not thinking straight. Most of them know exactly what they're doing, they're attempting to increase their own power. Oh a few may be misguided but many are highly educated and good writers or speakers who are politically astute and to portray them as just "silly" or not aware of the facts tends to obscure the serious threat that these people really are.

There is an excellent Podcast on the Econtalk site of a Russ Roberts interview with Ed Glaeser titled "Paternalism" = September 18, 2006.

He talks about Thaler and Sunstein, and paternalism creep.
"Just recognizing the flaws of mankind is not a justification for paternalism."

Glaeser points out that there are a lot of reasons that governments will take bad paths even if well intentioned.

> Ends justify the means.

Ah, but the ends DO justify the means. Always. Every time.

The problem is, you don't get to look only at a subset of the ends which concern you -- you must look at them ALL to judge if they justify the means.

If you believe that Jews ruin the nation, then "removing the Jews", if you get enough people to agree with you, is a satisfactory goal (not noting that I think they are silly, I'm just measuring it as a goal) -- but doing it by force and murder and torture is a violation of basic humanity. Those ends (instilling pain in others unnecessarily) deny use of those means. If you want to pay all your nation's Jews to leave and go somewhere else, well, hell, you're idiots, but more power to you -- the ends can justify THOSE means.

Mind you, people are all too often going to misuse this, to rationalize what they want for what the whole sum is, so it's best to be wary of it as a justification.

This notion (That the "ends justify the means" is false) is just one of those common logical fallacies (like "you can't prove a negative"*) which people toss off without thinking, and as such, it represents *bad* reasoning to apply it, usually

* "You can't prove a negative" -- this is utterly incorrect, and mathematicians do it all the time. It's called a "proof by contradiction". You assume the negative, and then demonstrate with logical steps how this leads to a contradiction, the most obvious and common cases being "and not negative, at the same time" or "0=1" or some such absurdity. In real life, such a proof by contradiction is a little more subtle and tricky to set up, but it is often possible. Again, this is an example of some bad reasoning memes which have gotten to be accepted when they are utterly incorrect, and wind up corrupting peoples' reasoning abilities.

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