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Government for the people. How?

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The objective of this thread is to altruistically* design a political structure wherein the needs and interests of EVERY inhabitant of this country are met. (None of this "general public" crap, we should try to make everyone happy. smile.gif ) It's impossible to not be aware of how inconceivable this sounds, but I think by being mindful of what we're trying to accomplish, but.. just might be feasible?**

Now, before we can even begin devising laws, creating our constitution, bill of rights, etc., I think it's best we assemble a list of what people want from their government. Feel free to contribute ANYTHING. (I stole some of these from the world's smallest political quiz and the bill of rights. >_>)

1. Government should not censor speech, press, media, or internet.
2. Military service should be voluntary.
3. There should be no laws regarding sex for consenting adults, where a consenting adult is anyone of 16 years of age or older.
4. Repeal laws prohibiting adult possession and use of drugs.
5. End government barriers to international free trade.
6. Let people control their own retirement; privatize Social Security.
7. Keep government welfare, but no taxation without representation.
8. Freedom of speech, religion, sexuality, peaceful protests, and petition.
9. Soldiers may not be quartered in a house without the consent of the owner.
10. People may not be unreasonably searched or kept in captivity.
11. The right to a free, public, and speedy trial.
12. Laws are to remain the same from State to State.
13. Eventual globalization is a priority.

*We can get into the semantics of altruism later. I have.. mixed feelings, but this most closely elucidates my intentions. (Lol, I swear, I bounce back and forth from being the apathetic hippy civilian who just wants to live to the extremely fervent humanitarian practically daily. >_>)
** Eh, truthfully, it isn't. Too many people disagree on matters of religion, which define the moral code for a LOT of people (even if they don't strictly adhere to it, haha). We need to agree now to define morals for ourselves and not base them off of religious texts. Like, if someone proposes "Don't kill", that's perfectly acceptable, and I expect it to be fully ratified. If someone else suggests "Love God", this is more open to debate. While you can submit ideas that coincide with religious texts, submit them because they are mandates you want and agree with, not just because your scripture of choice tells you to follow them.

Edited by bonanova
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Now that I think about things, it seems more that you are entering the Ayn Randian Objectivist camp and that's really just insane. It's not the basis of any sensible government. There's already only a very narrow chasm between Libertarianism and Objectivism and I have little respect for either. Objectivism is the philosophy of total selfishness. It claims that the most just society is where everyone is allowed to pursue their own personal, selfish ends with no impedance from the government. It sounds great on paper since who wouldn't want to live in a place where government never steps on your toes? :rolleyes: But there are numerous reasons having to do with the seemingly inherent impulsive nature of humans that lead an Objectivist community to chaos since there is no longer an overarching authority that can step in to mediate disputes. Every must depend on the themselves or perish (or at least live in squalor). And everyone's looking out for Number 1. That is a terribly unstable system.

That's actually one of the things I really disliked about Anthem. The way the book was spun, she made the collective group (totalitarian and evil, no doubt there) seem as loathesome as she possibly could, really putting emphasis on the importance of the ego at the end. While I myself am fairly hedonistic, I feel that if Rand had written a sequel and expanded on the society Equality and Golden One or whatever her name was began to create, the problems with a political system centering around oneself would have been blatantly obvious, and no one would ever embrace her philosophy. I strongly suspect that's why she never wrote anything but dystopian novels, highlighting the bad so people would assume whatever is on the other hand of the spectrum is best. :rolleyes:

Dawh, Force is anarchist, not libertarian. Please don't think we all think like that, haha.

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Also, read 'Lord of the Flies.' I myself haven't read it yet, although I intend to do so soon, but it supposedly shows what some of us think would happen in something similar to your idea.

I have read that book. It was part of my sophomore English curriculum. I thought it was quite silly because the people in it were little kids made to be very stupid. They accidentally killed one of their friends because they thought he was a boogie monster or something. Anyways, in a Lord of the Flies situation I think my ideas of mutual consent would work out great. It's in the real world where we would have to transition form our current society that I have my doubts. Why? Because we're already settled in a country. As someone as said earlier (maybe you?) it would be crazy for me to just secede with my own small bit of property in the middle of the United States. I agree with that. It would be a lot easier to start my system from scratch an uninhabited island like in Lord of the Flies. Anyways, I think the book is thought provoking to most people more than anything else. I don't think it actually presents an accurate picture of the fundamental nature of people and how they figure out a way to govern themselves.

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(2) I think Use the Force puts too much (almost objectivistic) stake in the value of money, probably above even the value of lives

I don't. Well, I do... in this forum. But, that's largely because I thought that it was a specific point of disagreement that would be easy to argue. Most of you all here (not unreality though?) seemed to think that it was perfectly okay to tax people against their will as long as the majority of people agreed that it was okay. I agree with a lot of taxes like you all too, but I also recognize that that's me essentially saying that I'm valuing my own opinion of what to do with others' money more than I'm valuing their consent. This makes me doubtful on a moral level. From a moral perspective, me giving myself authority to decide what to do with other peoples' money without their consent also gives others' the authority what to do with my money. If I support taxing others then I'm in no position morally to complain about any taxation on myself that I view as unfair. In other words, all I've been saying with this taxation thing is that I think we should value peoples' consent more. We all ought to realize that by giving ourselves authority over what they make and produce we are also giving everybody else the right to take things away from us without our consent. Put yourself in the hard working middle class person's shoes. You worked very hard and yet other people are telling you that you have to give away some of your money to people who don't work as hard as you did. Now I realize a lot of people are just born in difficult situations and poverty, but from the perspective of the person who worked very hard to make it into the middle class, he finds it very upsetting that there anybody who hasn't worked as hard as he has is being given his money. Thinking like this makes me caution on the side of consent. Because I didn't see any great reasons to violate peoples' consent, I took the extreme libertarian approach. I wouldn't say I'm as libertarian as I appear in this thread though.

On the subject of what we ought to discuss, I agree with unreality. We shouldn't just move on to something else. We should at least try to find some sort of solid ending point first so that we can all learn something from what we have been discussing.

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Lord of the Flies was a terrible book..

Moving away from UtF's ideas entirely (I think it's clear that we disagree. We're trying to fix the US here, but feel free to secede and start your society elsewhere. Lemme know how to goes. :) )

Anyway, back to productivity, do you think there should be laws preventing the maltreatment of people in other countries? If say, <random country> allows slavery and child prostitution, do we make it our priority to come in and stop it, or do we allow the iniquity to persist?

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By agreeing to live in this country, the least you can do for your right to be protected by our police and military and taken care of by our hospitals and drive on our clean streets is to help fund it with your taxes. Now, I think taxes should only go to things used by the public, like roads, schools, etc. If you really are that selfish, feel free to leave, lol. There are plenty of private islands to claim. But on your way out, make sure you don't use the road you didn't help pay for. :P Oh, and if someone decides to rob your house, don't call the police, you didn't support them.

Who says I have to pay taxes? I don't make that much money. I haven't been arguing about myself, I've been arguing about intelligent people in general who work their brains to make money in an honest fashion. The upper to middle class who got to where they are not by inheriting money, but by inheriting intelligence and putting their brains to honest hard work to produce things that many people in society could use. Personally I think those people are likely much smarter than me and I'm not so sure I want to decide what to do with the money they've produced for them. So for the umpteenth and hopefully last time for a while, I'm just trying to make this point about the nature of taxation. It has come across as extreme libertarianism, but extreme libertarianism is not the view I mean to convey.

Dude honestly, I would think it was immoral if tax payers didn't get anything out of it. The money doesn't go to some fat people sitting around in Congress smoking cigars and banging a gigolo. Taxes pay for the necessities that keep us civilized.

I'm glad you said this. This means that you're leaving your morality in the hands of the masses who elect Congress who get to decide where your tax money goes.

It's interesting that I don't think people are good enough to do this and yet you do, yet in my libertarian society I do think that people are good enough to make it work and you don't. This is definitely something that I'll ponder.

On the subject of capitalism, I would just say that it's important to get rid of monopolies and other cartels. Let's not argue this as a side argument though.

Lastly I will say that I only now realized that dawh and Izzy are two different people. You must have very similar views because I didn't even realizing which one of you I was replying to until now when I saw the name "Izzy" and expected it to be "dawh." Either that or I'm not thinking too much about what I'm writing.

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Who says I have to pay taxes? I don't make that much money. I haven't been arguing about myself, I've been arguing about intelligent people in general who work their brains to make money in an honest fashion. The upper to middle class who got to where they are not by inheriting money, but by inheriting intelligence and putting their brains to honest hard work to produce things that many people in society could use. Personally I think those people are likely much smarter than me and I'm not so sure I want to decide what to do with the money they've produced for them. So for the umpteenth and hopefully last time for a while, I'm just trying to make this point about the nature of taxation. It has come across as extreme libertarianism, but extreme libertarianism is not the view I mean to convey.

Intelligence, again, is only an arbitrary inheritance based on the intellect of your parents and how much time they were able to spend with you during infancy. The children of the single mom taking two jobs with a second rate baby-sitter are going to be at a disadvantage compared to the child of the stay at home mom that reads and plays games with the kid all day. I was fortunate enough to have to second experience, and the head start become obviously apparent when I started school. I guess quite a bit of it is genetics and willingness to learn, but it's mostly nurture.

There definitely is a correlation between intellect and income, but personally, I think those that are smart (and I think you're very bright) see the necessity of welfare and taxes for the common good. It isn't a perfect system, and I would love it if someone can think of/propose another one, but until then.. it's better than eliminating it entirely. :) Again, I think taxes for schools, roads, and protection services should be necessary. Churches and other things that are far from required should be noncompulsory. (Which goes against my Jedi Temple point, but yeah. :P)

I'm glad you said this. This means that you're leaving your morality in the hands of the masses who elect Congress who get to decide where your tax money goes.

Actually, I don't think we should have a Congress. We don't need representatives, a direct democracy is possible. (One of the things I disagree with dawh on. :P)

It's interesting that I don't think people are good enough to do this and yet you do, yet in my libertarian society I do think that people are good enough to make it work and you don't. This is definitely something that I'll ponder.

Owe. My head.

Lastly I will say that I only now realized that dawh and Izzy are two different people. You must have very similar views because I didn't even realizing which one of you I was replying to until now when I saw the name "Izzy" and expected it to be "dawh."

Aww, that totally made me day. :blush: ..Even if it is just because you're tired or something. Dawh = <3 . ..In an "I think you're awesome" in a sort of role model way, not a "OMG, JOHNNY DEPP!!!" way. :P

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I do feel that we're not talking past each other anymore, so I do think we are making progress. I just want to make a couple comments: ;)

That would be great, but as you know, essentially all of the land on Earth has been discovered and inhabited (unless an area is not a good place to inhabit, e.g. Antarctica). So as much as I would like to be able to "just leave", I would rather change my government hopefully in a peaceful manner through discussion and agreements.

Despite the fact that I wouldn't typically use a document to argument a political point, I think it would be relevant to quote the Declaration of Independence here:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness."

Yes, I like those lines. I would like to add the lines following them too though. They are often neglected by Conservatives:

"Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security."

So yes, the "Tree of Liberty" needs to be refreshed with the blood of patriots and despots from time to time, but only when that Greek Virtue of Prudence deems necessary. Just because we don't like the way things are now is not a valid reason to overthrow the government, in the right honorable Thomas Jefferson's own words.

Well yes, the money is the government's money. But, I wouldn't say that makes it right or moral of them to seize it from you when you got it by producing a product and selling the product for the money. It is illegal (I think) to take the government's money out of circulation. I don't think I'm allowed to burn money, for example, with the intent of removing it from circulation. This is because they want to keep track of how much money there actually is in circulation so they can control all of those rates and whatnot at the Fed (something that I'm not so sure I approve of, but I'm not knowledgeable enough to debate it). Anyways, if you're yet to read the money speech, I recommend you do:

http://www.working-minds.com/money.htm

So I made the comment earlier about Ayn Rand and Objectivism before I read the link you've been posting. Now I see that it's from "Atlas Shrugged." :lol: I just think it's funny that I picked up on Randian philosophy before I realized the source... :D Here's a quote I like on the subject:

"Two novels can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other involves orcs." :P

So I still think we (as a nation collectively) ought to find a way to give the individual more power over their money and more choices about being taxed. I suppose reducing the size of the government (general view of conservatives) would help out a lot even if there was still some money that was being taken from me. At least this way I and other conservatives would disagree with the government on fewer issues. The new health care bill, for example... Not even knowing exactly what it does, I would look at the fact that not a single Republican voted for it in the final stage of passing it into law and realize that this is not a government that has the consent of the governed. And thus, not knowing all of the details of the health care bill, I'm opposed to it on the basis of this fact alone (note: that's not the only reason, but I think it's terrible that the government can do that with so many people opposed to it).

I agree with what gvg said on the subject. The Republicans made a political calculation that they could get back in power faster if they opposed all of the President Obama's initiatives. There's a joke in some circles that Republicans would oppose making Bush's tax cuts permanent if Obama suggested it. Obama gave the Republicans many chances to be an active part of the process of crafting the legislation. Instead, they decided to try to take Congress's ball and go home, but it didn't work. The main idea of the bill is to make insurance affordable to all people. Right now, people who have treatable conditions are denied care by their carriers (if they have one) to save the insurance companies money. Those who don't have any insurance and can't pay for necessary care don't get it. This ends up meaning that instead of getting care when they need it and preventing catastrophic illness, people instead wait until they end up in the ER and go broke because they can't afford the emergency costs either. By having everyone pay into the same pool of money, when people get sick, they can get the care you need without risking bankruptcy (at least in theory, we'll have to see how it works out in practice). It's made mandatory so that the risk and costs are (dare I say it) socialized and thereby reduced since everyone's already in the system. Allowing people to opt-out means that healthy people won't pay in and prices go up for anyone else. It's not the best system, but when the minority party put their noses up at the thought of working across the aisle, it was the best they could get passed.

Great job at explaining your view. Seriously. But, I still disagree with it. Rather than repeat myself a lot and only say a few new things in an effort to explain why, I will ask you a question as my argument back to you: If it's both unlucky for poor people to be born poor and people like me to be born into a government they want to leave, why do you support giving money to the poor, but you don't support helping me regain the power to decide what to do with my money? Shouldn't you want to help both? Or perhaps helping one hurts the other so you decide to help the poor because you figure their problems are worse than a wealthy person worrying about being taxed? :) I wouldn't be surprised if this was it exactly. I think I understand your view now and why you hold it. So I suppose society's overall prosperity (for each society type (libertarian side and socialist side)) is significant to the debate. If I could persuade you that a "smaller" government than our current government (thus towards the libertarian side that gives individuals more choice and doesn't force taxpayers to support the poor as much) would be beneficial to the overall success/prosperity of society as a whole, would you possibly change your views to be more conservative? Note that this is a theoretical question more than a practical question. I don't really intent to engage in such a debate, but rather I am just wondering if you would actually want a "smaller" government if you know that such a government was slightly more appealing to the wealthy (less taxes) and slightly less appealing to the poor (less government services for them), and slightly more appealing to society overall in the long run (meaning overall the country would grow to be happier and more productive (economically, etc) over time). Thanks.

I don't see poor people as the problem (the "moochers" if you will :rolleyes: ). I doubt that you'll find many people on unemployment benefits and the like who think that they're living it large. Most poor people would probably tell you that the system is gamed to benefit the rich at the expense of the poor. Nobody thinks the system works for them. :rolleyes:

It's interesting that you find us in agreement. It's like the comedies where the third party says, "Then you are both in agreement." The other two look at him in indignation and both simultaneously say, "No we are not!" :lol: I think that we do have a lot about which we do not agree. She puts herself in the libertarian/minimalist camp, where I aim for the liberal/progressive camp. There are plenty of places where these ideologies overlap I suppose, but I don't much take to libertarian thinking...

Hmm, my few comments ran rather long...I guess that this is a few for me. ^_^

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Anyway, back to productivity, do you think there should be laws preventing the maltreatment of people in other countries? If say, <random country> allows slavery and child prostitution, do we make it our priority to come in and stop it, or do we allow the iniquity to persist?

How would you propose that we handle that? While I (and appearently you as well) think that those things are wrong, it would not fall under are jurisdiction to handle that situation, unless there is something like the UN that is governing international law and even then that would only work for those countries that recognize (I think that that is the right word) the international government.

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Lord of the Flies was a terrible book..

Moving away from UtF's ideas entirely (I think it's clear that we disagree. We're trying to fix the US here, but feel free to secede and start your society elsewhere. Lemme know how to goes. :) )

Anyway, back to productivity, do you think there should be laws preventing the maltreatment of people in other countries? If say, <random country> allows slavery and child prostitution, do we make it our priority to come in and stop it, or do we allow the iniquity to persist?

I'm sorry, but that's exactly what my idea is. My idea has been to not go in and wage against them. My idea has been that because we can't force everybody around the world to live the way we want to, we ought to leave these other countries be and deal with our own community. Then, when we have finally made our own corner of their world the wonderful place we wish it will be, hopefully others in the South (or was that dawh talking about the civil war?) and others who have slavery and child prostitution (almost the same as adult prostitution? Who says adults know what they're doing?) will see great we have made our corner of the world and will change their ways to follow our example, if they indeed like the way our corner of the world turned out. And, if these people want to follow the example that you set in your corner of the world, then by all means reach out with your money to aid them to stop the slavery and child prostitution. Just don't go in there to fight a war to force them to live the way you want them to. Only fight the war if they're begging you to help them. I don't think Iraq was justified enough, to use as an example for this.

Anyways, those were my views, but now I'm going to be more liberal and talk about what I would like to see happen, not what I actually would necessarily use force to make happen. Yes, I would love to get rid of slavery and genocide and all of that child abuse stuff that I wouldn't want to happen to my own children. That would be great.

Really not necessary for anyone to read, but I'm writing it anyways:

My name is "Use the Force" which is supposed to reference Star Wars and that's it. However, I have found that in my first online political discussion on one of these forums things or with people who I don't know, I have been using the phrase "use force" quite often talking about the threat of guns to enforce taxes and other things. That wasn't meant to happen.

I'll let someone else post something now.

Hey wait, WHOA! I just thought of an argument against my libertarianism. If I just include fish, pigs, and corn in the category of humans, then of course I support taking things from people without their consent. I'm sure these people don't want me to eat them, yet I do anyways. There we go, I don't consider myself to be a libertarian anymore. More specifically, I'm not at the extreme of the spectrum. Someone at the extreme of the spectrum wouldn't eat the pig unless the pig gave his consent.

Actually, if I raise the pig on a farm myself, then I'm responsible for it's creation and thus wouldn't mind eating it. If I'm willing to go into nature and hunt a fish and eat it though, then that slides my away from the extreme right side of the political spectrum. And because I would be willing to go into my woods and cut down a tree to use to build my house against its will, I no longer consider myself to be a libertarian, just conservative. And that's just me being cautious. I'm sure I make decisions in which I violate peoples' consent when I really shouldn't, thus making them quite liberal choices on my part. I try to be more conservative though so as not to make those mistakes. Now I'm done.

EDIT: I see more people have posted. Well, I'll wait to read and respond to what they have written until a later date. I will also note that I will be on a camping trip this weekend will thus be absent from this forum after tomorrow for a few days in case any of you would like to have that information.

Edited by Use the Force
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I'm sorry, but that's exactly what my idea is. My idea has been to not go in and wage against them. My idea has been that because we can't force everybody around the world to live the way we want to, we ought to leave these other countries be and deal with our own community. Then, when we have finally made our own corner of their world the wonderful place we wish it will be, hopefully others in the South (or was that dawh talking about the civil war?) and others who have slavery and child prostitution (almost the same as adult prostitution? Who says adults know what they're doing?) will see great we have made our corner of the world and will change their ways to follow our example, if they indeed like the way our corner of the world turned out. And, if these people want to follow the example that you set in your corner of the world, then by all means reach out with your money to aid them to stop the slavery and child prostitution. Just don't go in there to fight a war to force them to live the way you want them to. Only fight the war if they're begging you to help them. I don't think Iraq was justified enough, to use as an example for this.

Dude, that's exactly what I'm talking about with globalization! Mexico is a prime example. ..And I guess so is Canada. Mexicans are fleeing to the US for the monetary incentive. Americans are going to Canada for the health benefits. If we just open our borders (like in the EU), it would solve the illegal immigration problem, and all three countries can come to a compromise that makes everyone happy.

Actually, if I raise the pig on a farm myself, then I'm responsible for it's creation and thus wouldn't mind eating it. If I'm willing to go into nature and hunt a fish and eat it though, then that slides my away from the extreme right side of the political spectrum. And because I would be willing to go into my woods and cut down a tree to use to build my house against its will, I no longer consider myself to be a libertarian, just conservative. And that's just me being cautious. I'm sure I make decisions in which I violate peoples' consent when I really shouldn't, thus making them quite liberal choices on my part. I try to be more conservative though so as not to make those mistakes. Now I'm done.

Please never use this to justify eating your own children. :P

And regarding your username, you should see my Jediism thread. Jedi are here to keep peace and protect the Republic, not destroy it. :)

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I know I'm a little late to the party, but to me, congress is the most unjust of the three branches. It can stunt possible progress (as with Obama) or raise hell for a president they disagree with (as with Andrew Johnson). Now I know that they have to keep the system of checks and balances and all that, but the only time I can think of that they did that for a good reason, for Johnson, they were overruled during the impeachment trial. It's supposed to be the people's part of the government, but it never seems to be that way, especially in the senate.Although I'm for socialism and bigger government, I wouldn't care that much if congress sorta disappeared.

But no direct democracy. It's too chaotic to just vote on every single thing that is needed. We'd have to be voting close to 24 hours a day. We still need representatives. Maybe to make sure that everyone is represented, we could make it illegal not to vote (as they do in Australia), or for you libertarians, we could place penalties for not voting and rewards for voting, but still keep it voluntary.

Anyway, back to productivity, do you think there should be laws preventing the maltreatment of people in other countries? If say, <random country> allows slavery and child prostitution, do we make it our priority to come in and stop it, or do we allow the iniquity to persist?

We have no right to go in unless they ask for help. It's not our problem. That's why I condemn the Iraq war: it's pointless. (Afghanistan, on the other hand, is OK to me, because we are at war with the Taliban, and not Afghanistan themselves, but that's another discussion.)

UtF: You do realize that if you are charitable, you get tax deductions, right? If you give to Big Brother or another organization, you get a tax refund based on what you gave. Meaning you pay less the more generous you are. So that's another option to taxes that is available NOW (although I don't think it can eliminate all of your taxes). That rich person who doesn't want to pay all of their taxes? Give a lot to charity.

Edited by gvg
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[JOKING] Can we abolish money in this new Government? :thumbsup: [/JOKING]

Obviusly, I know that abolishing money is never going to happen, but really I wish that we could. I have said on multiple occasions that if I could make a living off of volunteering, I would. That would not work out to well, if everybody had their own little part of the country. People would still find a way to rip others off and find a way to benefit from the work of others.

I know very little about Politics and don't really care to know more. :rolleyes: I would say that I am Conservative (big surprise right?), but I don't know where my Political views fall, not that I really care.

I am sorry if that made very little sense, I have a tendency to do that when I am typing or writing or talking for that matter. :rolleyes:

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Anyway, back to productivity, do you think there should be laws preventing the maltreatment of people in other countries? If say, <random country> allows slavery and child prostitution, do we make it our priority to come in and stop it, or do we allow the iniquity to persist?

This is a hard call on my part. We don't have direct jurisdiction over other countries, but I look at things from a point of inter-connectivity. That's part of the reason I have a hard time taking libertarianism and objectivism seriously. They adhere to "My life, my way" sort of thinking, while I see that actions that you take can have profound effects on my life and vice versa. Like Izzy said (I think) "We're all in this together." So I see things from a perspective where we all sort of rise and fall together. If we ignore the transgressions of other countries and just "encourage" them to emulate us, that can have negative repercussions over here as well. Intervening in the wrong situation can also be disastrous (nothing comes to mind...oh wait, like gvg mentioned, Iraq :rolleyes: ). I think that we can't say "We will intervene" or "We won't intervene." I think that that is the sort of thing that has to be handled on a case-by-case basis. I have to say that I do disagree with UtF again ( ;) ), I don't think that we can always just "set a good example" and leave it at that. Violent despots can hold a country down even if the majority wants to change and there may be cases where it is valid for outsiders to step in and impose justice.

Actually, I don't think we should have a Congress. We don't need representatives, a direct democracy is possible. (One of the things I disagree with dawh on. :P)

gvg mentioned some of the problems with abolishing the representative system. And we do still need a president (as long as there are other countries around) since we can't really all meet with the President of France when he comes over for a state dinner. You're relying on the Internet for DD and the thing is that we haven't lost the "No Computer" generation yet (and some people can't afford it), so there are still plenty of people who couldn't vote on things because they don't have an Internet connection, or it's really slow. Maybe in 15-20 years everyone would be "plugged in" for online voting, if we survive that long... :o Of course, considering that you'll find no greater hive of hackers and spammers than the Internet, voting online could be a dangerous game if anyone gets inside the system. That's why a lot of people don't like electronic voting machines. They don't leave a paper trail and no one can tell if they're being hacked just by looking at them. So until someone can devise a foolproof system (which they don't patent to prevent people from looking at the code (Deibold voting machines :mad: )), I don't see direct democracy voting to be feasible (if even then).

As for Congress, they make up their own rules for procedure. That's what the Constitution says. So the Senate thought that originally a 2/3 majority vote to end debate was reasonable. When people began using the vote to block legislation from coming to the floor for an "up or down vote," they lowered the vote to 60. Now the Republicans are calling for cloture votes on every single thing that comes before the Senate. It's optional and can be bypassed by unanimous consent. It's a totally undemocratic entity as it allows a super minority of the population to have veto power over any legislation that comes before the Senate. As I said, the original purpose of the cloture vote is to come to an agreement that the bill pending has been discussed sufficiently and is ready to be voted up or down. In the last 30 years it has morphed into a tool for the minority to prevent any legislation from coming to a vote unless a supermajority of senators support it. I don't have the numbers in front of me, but cloture votes have been forced more times in this Congress than in most of the rest of the country's existence combined. It's ridiculous. :dry:

Another quick suggestion for improving voting is to make Voting Day a national holiday. Right now, people have to fit voting into their work schedules and if they work long hours or far away from their designated polling place, they are less likely to participate, even if they would normally want to do so.

Aww, that totally made me day. :blush: ..Even if it is just because you're tired or something. Dawh = <3 . ..In an "I think you're awesome" in a sort of role model way, not a "OMG, JOHNNY DEPP!!!" way. :P

I guess I'm flattered... B)):blush:

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I read Izzy's comments and dawh's comments and Framm 18's comments (comment numbers 132, 133, 134 and now 136), and managed to limit my response to a small reply to comment number 136:

Please never use this to justify eating your own children. :P

:) Don't worry. I would consider people who eat their own children and do other sick things to their children low enough for me to violate their consent. They're on the same level. On the other hand, parents who want to make their children better than they are and thus respect their children as better people than themselves, rather than much lower people who are on the level of chickens that are allowed to be eaten... are great parents.

Yipee. I succeeded in not writing too much.

Now for gvg, comment number 137:

I know I'm a little late to the party, but to me, congress is the most unjust of the three branches. It can stunt possible progress (as with Obama) or raise hell for a president they disagree with (as with Andrew Johnson). Now I know that they have to keep the system of checks and balances and all that, but the only time I can think of that they did that for a good reason, for Johnson, they were overruled during the impeachment trial.

I bet there are many more examples than Johnson's impeachment where you liked what they did, but I know what you mean. I think it's an area of our government where many liberals and conservatives alike would agree we could use a little work on. I don't think it works nearly as well as it could (e.g. if we gave more power to the individual :P ), but most people (here at least) think that that would have worst results than Congress deciding our laws. So, what modification is there that all of us and a majority of the American public would be content with? Note that I'm not quite asking for a compromise. Rather, I'm asking what little things could we change to modify the current system to improve it for everybody? (Isn't this the objective of the thread, actually? :thumbsup:)

We have no right to go in unless they ask for help. It's not our problem. That's why I condemn the Iraq war: it's pointless.

We agree! That's surprising to me. I would have thought that as a liberal/socialist you would be willing to use your government power to expand to the rest of the world (like dawh wants) and knock out dictators and eliminate poverty all around the world. Or maybe you would only want that if enough people were asking us for our help to do such things.

UtF: You do realize that if you are charitable, you get tax deductions, right?

Yes, I do know that. I will note that I'm part of a middle class family, not a rich one. But, I will say that while rich people often do give away a ton of money to charity to avoid paying a lot of taxes, I still don't think that many rich people are content with such a system. They can give away half their money to the poor and still have to give their money to government programs that they might support the idea/goals of, but find inefficient, etc. Perhaps if you were to pretend that people were altruistic rather than selfish for a minute, you could see why my conservative ideas would be better than your socialist ideas. If everyone wanted to give to charity and help out the poor freely, then it would simply be inefficient to have politicians decide how to spend the money. The government rarely spends their money very efficiently, or at least as efficiently as many wealthy business men. So if people were selfless instead of selfish, I'm sure you would agree that a smaller government would be preferable for efficiency reasons alone, right? Having said that, I don't think that people are selfless. But, I don't think that everybody is so selfish as to not give them more power than they currently have to decide what to do with their money.

Framm 18:

Abolish money? Money is not evil (read the Money Speech http://www.working-minds.com/money.htm :) (note to others: I never read "Atlas Shrugged". My friend the extreme libertarian who was the first person for me to discuss politics with and the person who I have the discussed the most politics with (thus, he's why I'm a libertarian. So while my views may be extreme, I don't hold them in an extreme manner--I'm part apathetic about them. I realize that if the first intelligent argument I was exposed to was a socialist one then I could very well be a socialist. There are very intelligent people on both extremes so I try not to "hold" my extreme views in an strong fashion.). Money is a tool so that if you are a doctor and you want a computer you don't have to trade a year's worth of your medical services to a computer-maker. It's a tool so that a farmer can get a tractor. The tractor-maker doesn't want 100 dozen eggs, so how could they do the trade without money to mark the value of their respective products? Money is a tool that allows two people to agree on the value of money and use it for both of their benefits to trade. I see no reason to want to abolish money.

You say that you would rather just be able to volunteer everywhere, but I don't think that would work. That would be like communism. Your volunteer work simply isn't as valuable as your private work. Doing the work for others rather than yourself doesn't make the work more valuable. My aunt, for example, is a nurse. She makes a good amount of money as a nurse. She also enjoys volunteering though and says she wishes she could just volunteer all the time (for altruistic reasons, rather than selfishly taking the money for herself). I tried to explain to her (bad decision on my part) that this wouldn't work because the volunteer work she doesn't isn't as valuable as the nurse work she does (note: her volunteer work often doesn't involve her valuable nurse educated mind, but is just basic tasks performed for other people that are of less value than the nurse skills). Thus, it would be better for her to work as a nurse and then give her money that she makes to charity. That would be a more valuable thing for the charity than for her to literally work for the charity. Again, this is because the work she does as a nurse is more valuable than the average work she does as a volunteer. So volunteering isn't better just because it's done for other people. In fact, I would argue that I don't want the intelligent, educated, doctors to do volunteer work at all unless that volunteer work was essentially giving their doctor services away for free (which is often the case, but not always the case with my aunt). So the point that I'm trying to make is that it doesn't matter who you are doing the work for (yourself or for others). It matters the value of your work. If you want to help out others, do the work that is of more value and if that happens to be your private work then just donate your income to charity. That would be the best way to do it.

Edited by Use the Force
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I have to say that I do disagree with UtF again ( ;) ), I don't think that we can always just "set a good example" and leave it at that. Violent despots can hold a country down even if the majority wants to change and there may be cases where it is valid for outsiders to step in and impose justice.

Again I must not have stated my mind clearly. If a good majority wants to be freed from their minority dictatorship and they want our help to knock out their government, then as you said, let's look at the specific scenario and see if it's worth the war to liberate the people who want to be liberated. This is a point where I disagree with my extreme libertarian friend. There are very few times that he would ever wage a war against another country with a tyrannical government to free their people, even if they were acting in the most inhumane ways imaginable. I differ in that if I thought, looking at a specific example, that the dictators were being inhumane and the people were begging for help to rebel against their government, then sure I would go in and help them out even with a war. I would bet that you and I would have very similar views if we were to look at various practical examples of should we invade. I might differ from you though, in that if I'm unsure about whether or not I should wage a war of this type because I didn't know enough about what was happening and if the people wanted me to help and I didn't know the cost of the war, etc, then I would caution on the side of don't intervene. Thus, I would only intervene in cases where it was very clear that I ought intervene. I wouldn't make the mistake of invading Iraq or anything like that though. So basically when I present the libertarian view of me just wanting to "set a good example" in my own corner of the world, this is really just because I want to be more cautious than our nation/peoples' popular opinions state when deciding to wage war on a nation because I find it's government inhumane.

In fact, I think this can explain most of all of my extreme views. I look at your views and the general public's common views and the views shown by the actions of our government and then I argue to the extreme in the direction that I think peoples' opinion or our government should move to. I don't think I actually want to go all the way to the extremes that I'm arguing though.

They don't leave a paper trail and no one can tell if they're being hacked just by looking at them. So until someone can devise a foolproof system (which they don't patent to prevent people from looking at the code (Deibold voting machines :mad: )), I don't see direct democracy voting to be feasible (if even then).

As for Congress, they make up their own rules for procedure. That's what the Constitution says. So the Senate thought that originally a 2/3 majority vote to end debate was reasonable. When people began using the vote to block legislation from coming to the floor for an "up or down vote," they lowered the vote to 60. Now the Republicans are calling for cloture votes on every single thing that comes before the Senate. It's optional and can be bypassed by unanimous consent. It's a totally undemocratic entity as it allows a super minority of the population to have veto power over any legislation that comes before the Senate. As I said, the original purpose of the cloture vote is to come to an agreement that the bill pending has been discussed sufficiently and is ready to be voted up or down. In the last 30 years it has morphed into a tool for the minority to prevent any legislation from coming to a vote unless a supermajority of senators support it. I don't have the numbers in front of me, but cloture votes have been forced more times in this Congress than in most of the rest of the country's existence combined. It's ridiculous.

Both of us despise this stuff. But, you look at them and want to change them in our current system. I look at them and argue that individuals ought to have more power, because then I would never allow my money to go Bush's purposes or other people who may help get elected by fraud. My distrust in the system and in people to elect people who do things in the poor two-party system in Congress that I like makes me more conservative so that I can make these choices instead. Again, I don't think I'm extreme like my arguments are. I just think that more individual choices would both help me and society as a whole. Of course, I personally would like a pretty good sized government. I wouldn't want to have a direct democracy in which I would have to spend half my life voting or anything like that. I enjoy the benefits of a large government that take care of everything I need so I don't have to worry about them. I just wish our government was better at it. Do you know what I would really love? An altruistic super-genius dictator. That would be sweet. I'm sure there are geniuses out there who are smart enough to make a government that everybody likes better than our current government. Too bad there aren't many altruistic geniuses to elect to Congress and the Presidency. Bush and Obama certainly aren't what I'm talking about. I would love to see someone with an IQ of 200 single-handedly perfect humanity in my lifetime. Give him your power, not Congress. I'm dreaming now.... but seriously. I would trust a semi-altruistic genius with dictator power a lot more than I trust the system of checks and balances that is our government. With such a genius in power I might like the government so much that I wouldn't desire to have my personal power and choice back. He'd be so smart that he'd form a government that would do what this thread is trying to do now... he would appease the vast majority of people with values anywhere near the norm... both libertarians and socialists (because afterall, gvg or you (liberal) and I have very similar values. We just disagree politically on what we think is the best way to achieve these things). Okay, now I'm really dreaming though. What do we do if we can't find an altruistic genius dictator to solve our problems for us? Two opposing forces (conservative and liberal) in Congress doesn't seem to be working.

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Framm 18:

Abolish money? Money is not evil (read the Money Speech http://www.working-minds.com/money.htm :) (note to others: I never read "Atlas Shrugged". My friend the extreme libertarian who was the first person for me to discuss politics with and the person who I have the discussed the most politics with (thus, he's why I'm a libertarian. So while my views may be extreme, I don't hold them in an extreme manner--I'm part apathetic about them. I realize that if the first intelligent argument I was exposed to was a socialist one then I could very well be a socialist. There are very intelligent people on both extremes so I try not to "hold" my extreme views in an strong fashion.). Money is a tool so that if you are a doctor and you want a computer you don't have to trade a year's worth of your medical services to a computer-maker. It's a tool so that a farmer can get a tractor. The tractor-maker doesn't want 100 dozen eggs, so how could they do the trade without money to mark the value of their respective products? Money is a tool that allows two people to agree on the value of money and use it for both of their benefits to trade. I see no reason to want to abolish money.

You say that you would rather just be able to volunteer everywhere, but I don't think that would work. That would be like communism. Your volunteer work simply isn't as valuable as your private work. Doing the work for others rather than yourself doesn't make the work more valuable. My aunt, for example, is a nurse. She makes a good amount of money as a nurse. She also enjoys volunteering though and says she wishes she could just volunteer all the time (for altruistic reasons, rather than selfishly taking the money for herself). I tried to explain to her (bad decision on my part) that this wouldn't work because the volunteer work she doesn't isn't as valuable as the nurse work she does (note: her volunteer work often doesn't involve her valuable nurse educated mind, but is just basic tasks performed for other people that are of less value than the nurse skills). Thus, it would be better for her to work as a nurse and then give her money that she makes to charity. That would be a more valuable thing for the charity than for her to literally work for the charity. Again, this is because the work she does as a nurse is more valuable than the average work she does as a volunteer. So volunteering isn't better just because it's done for other people. In fact, I would argue that I don't want the intelligent, educated, doctors to do volunteer work at all unless that volunteer work was essentially giving their doctor services away for free (which is often the case, but not always the case with my aunt). So the point that I'm trying to make is that it doesn't matter who you are doing the work for (yourself or for others). It matters the value of your work. If you want to help out others, do the work that is of more value and if that happens to be your private work then just donate your income to charity. That would be the best way to do it.

Yeah, I know all that. That post was more wishful thinking then anything.

I know that money is a standard that most people agree to. I just think that money gets abused more then it needs to. Most of the things we can buy today are overpriced, while I understand that some mark up is needed to cover costs and still make a decent profit, I think that some of it is crazy how much they overprice. And Money does tend to corrupt people's way of thinking. Think: (Pet rocks, ChiaPets, and other similiar marketing scams, designed to make money.)

People are corrupt, (maybe that is why I tend to stay by myself and not make personal connections with people? And yes I don't trust people.) and money is definitely a tool that people use to gain the upper hand in life. As the saying goes, "There's a sucker born every minute." I think that money played a large role in that saying. Like I said that post was more wishful thinking then anything, and I have already said that this thread is more like a wishlist then anything.

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UtF mentioned breaking up monopolies and cartels. That's definitely something that I support wholeheartedly. I would even petition that that be added to our governmental wish-list that has gotten somewhat lost over the past few days. :o:P

Both of us despise this stuff. But, you look at them and want to change them in our current system. I look at them and argue that individuals ought to have more power, because then I would never allow my money to go Bush's purposes or other people who may help get elected by fraud. My distrust in the system and in people to elect people who do things in the poor two-party system in Congress that I like makes me more conservative so that I can make these choices instead. Again, I don't think I'm extreme like my arguments are. I just think that more individual choices would both help me and society as a whole. Of course, I personally would like a pretty good sized government. I wouldn't want to have a direct democracy in which I would have to spend half my life voting or anything like that. I enjoy the benefits of a large government that take care of everything I need so I don't have to worry about them. I just wish our government was better at it. Do you know what I would really love? An altruistic super-genius dictator. That would be sweet. I'm sure there are geniuses out there who are smart enough to make a government that everybody likes better than our current government. Too bad there aren't many altruistic geniuses to elect to Congress and the Presidency. Bush and Obama certainly aren't what I'm talking about. I would love to see someone with an IQ of 200 single-handedly perfect humanity in my lifetime. Give him your power, not Congress. I'm dreaming now.... but seriously. I would trust a semi-altruistic genius with dictator power a lot more than I trust the system of checks and balances that is our government. With such a genius in power I might like the government so much that I wouldn't desire to have my personal power and choice back. He'd be so smart that he'd form a government that would do what this thread is trying to do now... he would appease the vast majority of people with values anywhere near the norm... both libertarians and socialists (because afterall, gvg or you (liberal) and I have very similar values. We just disagree politically on what we think is the best way to achieve these things). Okay, now I'm really dreaming though. What do we do if we can't find an altruistic genius dictator to solve our problems for us? Two opposing forces (conservative and liberal) in Congress doesn't seem to be working.

If I thought I could devise a better system, then I might be for changing things externally, but until that point, I don't see a better option than working within the parameters that are already in place.

You might be interested in checking out Plato's "Republic." It's admittedly a little dated, but he described his perfect society ruled by Philosopher-Kings (I think that was his term for them). Since of course, philosopher is the highest profession there is. ;) The P-Ks would probably fit with your super genius idea. I still think that there are important lessons that we can learn from historical philosophy. It provides context for the world of today, even if it is changing fast.

If you appreciate British humor, I would also recommend "Yes Minister" which is a television show making fun of government bureaucracy from the 1970s and 80s. It focuses on a lot of the things you're complaining about with the current system. :thumbsup:

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UtF: I know it may seem surprising, but I don't like the idea of the government flexing its muscles by invading people left and right. It's like bullying. If our government was good enough, poeple would know we were a great nation without the showings of power. That's what I'm trying to reach.

Although it would be inhumane to ignore a mass cry of help.

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Hmm, I actually own Plato's Republic but haven't gotten around to reading it yet. :( The pile of unread books is geting overwhelming haha.

Edited by Izzy
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People: WE CANNOT LET THIS DIE!!!

Now, since UtF is going to be gone, we can switch to a different issue. Anyone have something?

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yes, the plasticity of the law, the ability to amend, and the ability of the common person to vote.

And dawh, not everyone needs internet access. Libraries and computer labs can allow people to vote, and computer voting stations can be set up too. And yes voting day could be a holiday. And the site would have to be secure, yes, obviously. But I think it's possible

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How about every citizen or permanent resident of ten years or more 18+ can vote? I'm not a citizen, so unless I become one, I can't vote, and while I don't really pledge my allegiance to this country, I would still vote for what's best. I think the 10+ years shows that the person is serious about that country's future, but are just reluctant to get rid of their other citizenship. (Personally, EU > America, because the border are open, and there are so many more opportunities.)

Hmm. Amendments.. 7:3 majority?

And you're going to have to explain the first one. ;)

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And you're going to have to explain the first one. ;)

plasticity is the ability of something to change to adapt to new circumstances. We don't have to use the amendment system from the USA is what i'm saying. There are/couldbe other ways to involve plasticity

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How about every citizen or permanent resident of ten years or more 18+ can vote? I'm not a citizen, so unless I become one, I can't vote, and while I don't really pledge my allegiance to this country, I would still vote for what's best. I think the 10+ years shows that the person is serious about that country's future, but are just reluctant to get rid of their other citizenship. (Personally, EU > America, because the border are open, and there are so many more opportunities.)

Hmm. Amendments.. 7:3 majority?

And you're going to have to explain the first one. ;)

What about the ability to declare dual citizenship? I know the US doesn't allow that for adults now, though as I understand it, they will acknowledge it for kids. When the "kid" turns 18, they have to declare which citizenship they wish to honor and pick one, or something like that. I could be way off on that one, but that's what I think I remember hearing somewhere. :unsure:

Just because a person has lived in a country for 10 years, doesn't mean that they will want to vote for the country's interest. We would like to think that they are all like you, but that couldn't be guaranteed. If we allowed dual citizenships, then we could avoid the issue of forcing someone pick a side, while also allowing them to show that their devotion to their adopted country is significant enough to warrant full benefits. As globalization occurred of course, the issue would become somewhat moot. I'm not really familiar with the EU system, so I can't really comment on how it works compared the the current US one.

Of course, the reason that the US probably doesn't allow dual citizenship is because if their ever came a time when the countries were in conflict (or were on different sides of a peaceful disagreement), they want all citizens to be on America's side and not torn between the two. I'm not sure if that's the real rationale or not, but it fits with how I think it works.

I'm working off of assumptions all over the place up there, but since we aren't really talking about current policies anyway, it's probably all right if I'm completely wrong on some of my "facts." :rolleyes:

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Basically, the only way I can get dual-citizenship is if my mom becomes a US citizen before I turn 18. I get naturalized along with her. I.. don't think I'd have to choose when I'm 18, but idk. There's a loophole, though. Idk if I qualify for it. Certain countries don't ask you to denounce your citizenship when you get the US one, so the US won't recognize that you have two citizenships while your country of birth does. ...Which is where it counts, anyway.

EU rights are pretty beastly, the best ones being the right to travel, live, and work freely anywhere in the EU, and the right to vote and stand in European elections in any member state.

So yeah, definitely allow dual-citizenships even for those over 18.

Meh.

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