Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Existence of Great Evil

After this?  Keep Reading.  Send me questions.  Use the comment feature.  Whatever.

I've been asking around about "great evil" - because I think a "Central Bank" is one, and I suspect any institution that uses a majority vote to force the minority into covering the cost of what that minority feels is unethical is also a GREAT evil.  Obviously, forcing someone to pay for what they believe is unethical is evil itself, but it isn't great - I think - because we can individually fight against it.  But when democracy is used to magnify the injustice of such an arrangement, it becomes a great evil.  In my mind, it explains why "Blowback" has proven to be such a problem for America, why we had a financial crisis in the first place, and why we're heading for a double-dip recession.

Many of the people who talk to me remark that my input is very helpful.  I seem to have a knack for identifying the crucial differences when people disagree, and I can represent each side in a manner that shows both sides that the other side isn't unreasonable, but just starts from a few different axioms.  I often have to tiptoe around the axioms because when they are starkly described, they are shameful.  And really, the people who start from an axiom like "People are generally stupid," will gradually back away from it, and also from their opposing positions, as I lead them to see that the shameful axiom is partly to blame for their position.

Since you're here, I have to assume that you mostly will agree with me, which suggests that staying here to read more won't help you much - that it's just confirming what you already understand.  But represent your toughest opponents to me.  Ask me what I might look for to convince them.

Here's an example where I may have at least weakened my friend Scott's conviction that a stronger central government is better:

Scott Smith -
Ahhh, there is a difference. You see yourself as a victim of society, wherein I see myself as a participant IN society.

    The fact is, there is always a need for balance. Society and a democratically run government is in constant flux to keep balance. They are (we are) ever adjusting and never stagnant. The greatest destroyer of our system of government and way of life will be when we no longer go to the polls.
Dave Scotese -
What distinction is there in your mind between our system of government and our way of life? What distinction is there in your mind between society and government? I certainly see myself (and most everyone else) as a victim of government, but I see myself as a beneficiary of society. So I'm not sure where you got the impression that I see myself as a victim of society. The distinction for me is choice. One provides me with opportunity, and the other takes opportunity away. One expands the choices I have, and the other eliminates some of my choices.

    In the adjustments and constant flux you mentioned, what are the two poles between which balance is being kept?
Scott Smith -
Transpose society for government if it makes better sense to you. Indeed, both are different and separate, but I participate and strengthen government, wherein you choose to see yourself as a victim.

    Always question authority is a motto I truly believe and live by, but to think myself a victim is to equate my life with that which my mother lived (under a totalitarian regime)...
    ...we are not that world.

Dave Scotese -
- How are they different and separate? Why is it government that you wrote that you participate in and strengthen, rather than society? What are the two poles between which balance is kept?

    Isn't there a gradual movement between one extreme, being the totalitarian world in which your mom lived, and the other extreme? How would you characterize that other extreme? If we are moving in the right direction, would we ever be able to move in that direction faster by ending or shrinking certain institutions, or does the existence of an institution of any sort indicate progress in the right direction?

    Aren't we all victims in some way? I know it's usually not too useful to see things that way, but how can we know when it is useful?

Scott Smith -
Great wordplay and trickery...

    ....of course, government and society are different, especially in the USA. We, as a society that is of us, by us and for us. At least that is what we continually strive to keep. I am for a strong central government as a representation of what I desire for society and self, and am ever skeptical at a power structure that tries to deny anyone a fair shake at life. Today's power structure is the corporation(s) that are overly dominant on our government. To rid that we must speak out and fight for our government to speak for us and not them.

    If we go the route you prefer, you are allowing free reign by those very corporations trying to takeover now, but without the buffer of a government with which we can block them through.

    Once again, I am not, nor will ever be, a victim. Your words and your choice (which is exactly what you prefer).

Dave Scotese -
"Today's power structure is the corporation(s) that are overly dominant on our government."

    That's it exactly. Check out

    Victimhood isn't really important here, right? What's important is that we recognize the ways in which power can transfer from those who are not "overly dominant" to those who are. I heard that Judo tends to use the power of one's enemy against that enemy. In this case, it seems that is what happens as we work to strengthen the government to reduce the overly dominant position - it backfires. Stigler's theory seems to back up that impression, and that is why I thought the idea of a strong central government should be challenged.
Scott Smith -
And it is backfiring, for those that are trying to control government want nothing more than to have government get out of it's way. A lesser impediment to controlling society are those believing that small government is better for all.


Brian J. Gladish said...

Dave, I think you are being a little optimistic in thinking this interchange weakened Scott's desire for a strong central government. He actually does see himself as a victim of corporations, none of which force him to buy their products or go to war (directly, that is). You are right about the difference in axioms, but I despair that anyone finds their axioms shameful - least of all progressives and other adherents of socialism or fascism in varying degrees.

Dave Scotese said...

Of course I am optimistic. Scott is a friend of mine. I think you label people too easily. Of course progressives and adherents of socialism will maintain their stupidity at all costs because that is how we define them. Your label makes it a tautology.

The question is whether or not there's a human mind inside capable of overcoming the ego that has attached itself to the foolish ideas. I will never assume there isn't, because that's kind of like killing a person. Temporarily.

And our conversation has continued. Scott's fundamental concern is not pushing progressivism or socialism, but beating back the corporate "over-dominance". His method is to strengthen government, but that's because of propaganda and the fact that he doesn't fully understand or appreciate Stigler's Capture Theory or the basic government-business partnership.

Brian J. Gladish said...

Well, keep at it!

Does he dislike corporations or big companies? Does he think that money corrupts or that it makes it possible for software engineers to buy meat from grocers that have no need for our code? Does he believe in some absolute justice that is above the market or is he sanguine with the idea that a garbage collector that works hard is unskilled labor that can be replaced at a low price?

My guess is that, with or without a label, you have a hard row to hoe. I would say that I have deflected a few people in my time (such as you), but a complete reversal in paradigm is a remarkable feat, especially in an adult. If you accomplish it you have my congratulations.

Deminizer said...

If you never hoe, you'll never reap any kind of harvest at all. With effort, if you at least reap even weeds from a barren patch of dirt, it's a start.