Direct Democracy. Would you vote for it?

This is a discussion on Direct Democracy. Would you vote for it? within the General Discussions forums, part of the Community Boards category; Originally Posted by C_ntua You don't have to be a lawyer to vote for a law. Laws existed before lawyers, ...

  1. #46
    Registered User whiteflags's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by C_ntua View Post
    You don't have to be a lawyer to vote for a law. Laws existed before lawyers, isn't that true? You are thinking of the law as something extremely complicated, which is not true.
    Well you are welcome to look at published bills at random to see what they are like in America, through THOMAS. You will not be happy.

    I am not sure I get your point by saying I will be representing all the people that didn't vote. What if I am? Is that bad you mean? They chose not to vote.
    Isn't that a big deal in direct democracy? The assembly participates. If you aren't there, you don't have a voice, period. If you want to point out voter turnout as a problem with representative democracy, don't pretend it's not a problem in the alternative. I only have to vote once or twice every four years. In direct democracy I'd probably have to vote every day on laws I don't have time to read or somehow understand through multiple, alternative sources of info, like any decent researcher. At least a representative's full time job is to be counted. He has the time to fulfill that responsibility.

    But you assume that people vote for good reps, which is not true. Who is being naive??
    That's like saying thousands of people can't be wrong. Does political climate mean nothing here? With re-elections, the climate certainly has an opportunity to change because of who's sitting, but in the alternative you would have to wait for voters in the majority to die. Remember, open minded people do not have to change their minds, so things could stay the same like things stay the same now -- it's just we suffer the consequences longer. The significant minority will suffer the tyranny of the majority as long as they cannot obstruct the business of voting, as is done frequently, and more now than ever, in the US Senate.

    The question is, do you really think that good politicians are voted?? Can't I say that the majority are corrupted and the good ones tend to have less power? If the answer is yes, then a direct democracy is an improvement.
    What measure is a good politician? Mmm, well say what you want, I only want to change your mind about that if I stand a chance. I think I've done what I can.

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    Quote Originally Posted by C_ntua View Post
    Time is a problem. But you don't need to know every little detail as mentioned on my previous post. People watch political shows, the read the newspapers. They have political discussions.

    They do all these things already. They just don't get to express their opinion they made. That is all. There is enough time I believe for a lot of people. Maybe not for all, but those would simply (and unfortunately) not vote on everything. As they don't do now anyway.
    Yes people have opinions on alot of things, just look at a typical youtube comment section, that doesn't mean that they care enough to inform themselves. The idea that these people should pass the laws scares me.
    At least people that go into politics have the passion and interest to persue it. Anyone who feels that way also have the oportunity to do the same and get a higher degree of influence.
    If you don't feel that way, lack the interest and motivation, then you should not have direct influence on the details involved in governing the state IMO.

    Also, the way matters are presented in media, especially television is a cut down simplified version, here the journalist does the research for the viewer/reader and presents the essentials, according to them. Things that doesn't sell, won't get presented, the same goes for "boring details". Media presents their views in a rhetoric fashion, rather than just the dry information.

  3. #48
    Registered User C_ntua's Avatar
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    @Whiteflags,
    I will delete my post and end it here since this things go forever. We also value differently the idea of democracy, in the sense that I would trade effectiveness for people to have more power, even though I still believe that direct democracy is both more effective and a more fair system. Your arguments are not really convincing for me, i guess mine are not either. For some I see a lot of workarounds, for others I simple see it as a lesser of two evils.

  4. #49
    Registered User C_ntua's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Subsonics View Post
    Yes people have opinions on alot of things, just look at a typical youtube comment section, that doesn't mean that they care enough to inform themselves. The idea that these people should pass the laws scares me.
    At least people that go into politics have the passion and interest to persue it. Anyone who feels that way also have the oportunity to do the same and get a higher degree of influence.
    If you don't feel that way, lack the interest and motivation, then you should not have direct influence on the details involved in governing the state IMO.

    Also, the way matters are presented in media, especially television is a cut down simplified version, here the journalist does the research for the viewer/reader and presents the essentials, according to them. Things that doesn't sell, won't get presented, the same goes for "boring details". Media presents their views in a rhetoric fashion, rather than just the dry information.
    So how many ignorant/stupid people you have? If you think we are talking about 70-80% then yes, I will agree with you. If you think we are talking about 40-50% then no, I won't agree. Half of those won't vote. The other half will [b]randomly[b/] vote since they are ignorant. The result? They did nothing really. Even if 80% of the half that will vote is biased towards something, because they are also stupid, then we are talking about 20% of the vote is going to be "scary". For me that kind of numbers are worth it.

    You are thinking about worst case scenarios here were all the ignorant will want to vote and will vote for the same thing. And that this worst case scenario will happen for the majority of votes. Is that really a reasonable scenario?

    Passion and interest is good if you use it for something good. Because you have reps that work for personal interest. Give people power and you know what they will do. So you gain voters that are more informed with a price of giving them power and motivation to abuse their power. I feel that the second has a greater effect.

    Yes, the media isn't good. You think the politicians today don't know it? So they use them. If you cannot see the truth, you won't be able to judge a rep. As you cannot judge a law. It is a flaw that applies to all democracies, isn't that so?

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    I'm not the one drawing the conclusion that these people are "stupid", it relates to my previous post about the amount of time it would take from everyday life to get properly informed and make a good decision. You can't just invent some percentages then draw conclusions from them, it's pointless and proves nothing.

    My comment about media is a direct response to your idea that people use it as a major source of information, that is true, and it would be a problem in a direct democracy.

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    Whether or not people are this or that has no bearing on the debate at hand. If you think it does then you don't know much about American politics. What problem does Direct Democracy solve, if any, and what problems does it create? That is the issue.

    I don't see that it solves anything. I don't agree that it is a better system. I don't think you are going to change 100+ years of precedent with one bill. The electoral college works, isn't perfect, but works and if it isn't broke then don't try to fix it.

  7. #52
    Registered User C_ntua's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Subsonics View Post
    I'm not the one drawing the conclusion that these people are "stupid", it relates to my previous post about the amount of time it would take from everyday life to get properly informed and make a good decision. You can't just invent some percentages then draw conclusions from them, it's pointless and proves nothing.

    My comment about media is a direct response to your idea that people use it as a major source of information, that is true, and it would be a problem in a direct democracy.
    I don't disagree, but they could vote on anything they have time on being informed about. Otherwise they don't vote. There is the possibility that they would vote without knowing what it is, but most people don't bother. If they are educated on the idea "you shouldn't vote if you don't know" then they wouldn't do it, since there is no reason for them to do it. Do you disagree?

    I use percentages because you will always have some people that won't do what they are supposed to do. If that percentage is high, then the system will fail. But I am saying that it won't be high.

    If you are thinking "don't give candy to a baby, they will go crazy", then you could slowly progress into a direct democracy. Not let the people vote for everything or all the time if that is your concern. The people learn and get adapted to situations. There is fear with every change, I don't see though being it something extremely difficult to accomplish.

    ----
    As it is in our current democracy as well, that is my point. They would have a more important role in a direct democracy. Eventually, they could have the higher power. You reduce the power from the politician and you give it to the media. The media, though, have an indirect power. They would actually have to convince the people. The politicians have other problems. They do things under the table which you never find out in addition of convincing the people.

  8. #53
    Registered User C_ntua's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bubba View Post
    Whether or not people are this or that has no bearing on the debate at hand. If you think it does then you don't know much about American politics. What problem does Direct Democracy solve, if any, and what problems does it create? That is the issue.

    I don't see that it solves anything. I don't agree that it is a better system. I don't think you are going to change 100+ years of precedent with one bill. The electoral college works, isn't perfect, but works and if it isn't broke then don't try to fix it.
    For me it is broke. There is a lot of corruption and injustice.
    The problem it solves is that it gives power to the people. It is fair. I believe in the idea of democracy. To be able to decide for myself.
    Other than that, people can be happy and have been with monarchs as well. That system worked also.

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    For me it is broke. There is a lot of corruption and injustice.
    For you, perhaps. But there are over 250 million people in America of which maybe 40% actually care about any of this.

    The problem it solves is that it gives power to the people. It is fair. I believe in the idea of democracy. To be able to decide for myself.
    You can. The electoral college already handles this. You seem to think your vote is unaccounted for unless we have a direct system. This is not true. While the electorates do not have to vote for the candidate their constituents want they rarely, if ever, do this. The electoral college is there to balance out the issue of population distribution. If you look at the Midwest, minus the major cities there, you see a sparse population distribution from county to county and state to state. Now take New York and you get a massive jump in population due to NYC. There is no way to create a direct system with this kind of population density discrepancy. This is what the electoral college was designed to balance and for the most part it does a good job of it.

    If we went to a direct system then candidates would have to visit every major town of every state USA which isn't feasible. Campaign contributions would have to triple or quadruple and costs would skyrocket. It's just not practical. I don't mind that they spend most of their time in important electoral states. It doesn't mean the other states don't matter it just means that they don't need as many votes (due to population density) to win that state.

    America has a huge discrepancy between urban and rural population densities and a direct system would fail to take this into account.

    Other than that, people can be happy and have been with monarchs as well. That system worked also.
    I don't get why you keep bringing up this absurd and irrelevant argument. Are we arguing about direct democracy vs. what we currently have or are we arguing that an oligarchy or monarchy is better? Whether or not this or that system works is completely irrelevant to the discussion. It makes me think secretly all you care about is pushing your agenda of monarchy which is absurd. The system we have now is not broken and it is working the way it was intended to work. Now, more than ever, we need an electoral college b/c the density desparity keeps growing by the day.

    Now if you are also arguing that we should have to vote for every single law out there then you are being completely unrealistic. That is what we 'hire' professionals for so they can represent 'some' of my basic ideas and beliefs for me. It is impractical to think that we would ever move to a direct system without reps. I would go as far as to say it's impossible. I do see some relevance for a debate about the electoral college process and perhaps altering the layout a bit due to changes in the population....but as for a completely 100% direct democracy that is just insane and also reveals you know little about the law making process in the USA.
    Last edited by VirtualAce; 05-29-2010 at 12:50 PM.

  10. #55
    spurious conceit MK27's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sharke View Post
    You might have noticed from my exchanges with MK27 that I take somewhat of a dim view of people misrepresenting my views.
    Tee-hee. There has been no misrepresentation Sharke. Don't get mad at me just because I see through you, like I see through religious hypocrites and their alleged faith. While I'll admit there are good people with good intentions involved with religion tho, I very seriously doubt there are any such people involved with the tea party, who in fact seem even more eager to appear malicious and hateful than extreme right-wing religious fundamentalists.

    I'm sorry I do not believe you are about anything other than greed and more hatefulness -- it makes perfect sense to me that you want to represent yourself as about "freedom", which you are not, because this is one of the "ideals" (among many others) you people seek to mock. So far you have not said anything to make me change my mind, so at this point I think it is safe to say neither of us will, and I do have you figured out.

    But you did finally come up with something I hadn't heard before:

    conservatives donate considerably more than liberals. To clarify: those who are more likely to believe in smaller government and increased self responsibility are much more charitable than those who are more likely to believe in larger government and welfare handouts.
    I did read the article, and I presume this study was just based on tax returns -- ie, conservatives claimed more charity exemptions on their tax returns. I believe this includes tithing, so to be honest I would not count that as charity. Of course, I probably have even less respect for how the government defines things than you do (really). If we are going to count donations to churches as charity, then I we should also include gun clubs! Whatever your dues are, you should get to deduct them. Imagine the statistics then.

    Furthermore, I give money to panhandlers every day, at least 5% of my gross income goes this way. I cannot deduct that, and whatever grotesque and hateful slurs you are willing to make about panhandling, Sharke, rest assured this is something I see as charity.

    Even more caught up in this mess are those genuinely generous religious people who will identify as conservative, Sharke, but I doubt very much would be with you on the idea that we should eliminate taxation and the minimum wage. So there is "conservative", and there is "the wolf in sheep's clothing". You can claim anything you want about yourself, I guess, SHarke. You pray on others, or constantly aspire to do so, and that is at the heart of your politics.

    Anyway, I will give you a kind of credit. You have managed to do something no one in the past has convinced me to do, and that is actually join the Democratic party! So congratulations, this is a move to the right in some sense! I believe I can keep my green party membership up to date anyway. (Actually, I've met other anarchists who claimed to be active members of both the democratic AND the republican party -- that's what happens when you have no respect). Obama 2012!
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    Tee-hee. There has been no misrepresentation Sharke. Don't get mad at me just because I see through you, like I see through religious hypocrites and their alleged faith. While I'll admit there are good people with good intentions involved with religion tho, I very seriously doubt there are any such people involved with the tea party, who in fact seem even more eager to appear malicious and hateful than extreme right-wing religious fundamentalists.
    Why is it that you must turn every thread into a flame war about religion? Please cease and desist. We get it....you aren't religious.
    Last edited by VirtualAce; 05-29-2010 at 09:42 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by C_ntua View Post
    If you had the chance of changing representative democracy in a country like the US into direct democracy, would you support/vote for it? Do you think it would be a big failure or that it could work out? Assume that if it was voted for it would take into effect a few years from now (not right away, but not in the far future either).
    If your choice is that it would be a big failure, do you think that it is the best political system or do you have another favorite choice?
    First of all, the U.S. doesn't have any kind of democracy, direct or representative.
    What we have is an illusion of a representative democracy, when in fact our government secretly controls everything.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MK27 View Post
    Tee-hee. There has been no misrepresentation Sharke. Don't get mad at me just because I see through you, like I see through religious hypocrites and their alleged faith. While I'll admit there are good people with good intentions involved with religion tho, I very seriously doubt there are any such people involved with the tea party, who in fact seem even more eager to appear malicious and hateful than extreme right-wing religious fundamentalists.
    Saying that you "see through me" is nothing more than a meaningless dig, you're just p.......ing into the wind at this point. The same goes for your pointless and ignorant dig at Tea Party members, because you're just regurgitating the same shopworn liberal memes that are spewed by every other lefty who is furious that one of the biggest grassroots movements in modern American history happens to be composed of ordinary patriotic Americans who believe in individual responsibility, free trade and small government instead of the godawful, outdated class warfare crap that never has and never will inspire Americans to any great extent. And of course, without even knowing any Tea Party members and without having attended any Tea Party event, you just throw the usual knee-jerk left wing insults at them: "hateful"..."extreme"..."religious fundamentalists" etc. Oh man, how could you forget "racist" too? This nonsense has been the meat and potatoes of the left since the days of Lenin. In the absence of logical arguments, attempt to sabotage the debate by calling your opponent evil and hateful and racist. A little word of advice: nobody is buying that crap any more. It's through. You go to a Tea Party rally, what you'll find is very nice people who are kind, generous, thoughtful and who clean up after themselves. Compare this to most leftist liberal rallies which are full of rabid hatred and often violence. And since you claim to be an anarchist, perhaps you'd like to make a futile attempt at claiming that anarchist rallies are anything but hate filled festivals of violent extremism. The trouble with trying to talk crap on the internet is that empirical reality exposes your lies at every turn.

    Quote Originally Posted by MK27 View Post
    I'm sorry I do not believe you are about anything other than greed and more hatefulness -- it makes perfect sense to me that you want to represent yourself as about "freedom", which you are not, because this is one of the "ideals" (among many others) you people seek to mock. So far you have not said anything to make me change my mind, so at this point I think it is safe to say neither of us will, and I do have you figured out.
    I don't really expect to change your mind because you're ignorant, naive, childish and you aren't really good at making any sense. All you can do is call me greedy and hateful and intentionally misrepresent my views and claim that up is down and black is white. You don't have me figured out at all, not for one minute. That's why you're resorting to posting random fiction.

    Quote Originally Posted by MK27 View Post
    But you did finally come up with something I hadn't heard before:
    I did read the article, and I presume this study was just based on tax returns -- ie, conservatives claimed more charity exemptions on their tax returns. I believe this includes tithing, so to be honest I would not count that as charity. Of course, I probably have even less respect for how the government defines things than you do (really). If we are going to count donations to churches as charity, then I we should also include gun clubs! Whatever your dues are, you should get to deduct them. Imagine the statistics then.
    See what I mean? You don't give a jot about the truth - as soon as you're confronted with a statement of fact which shatters your world view, your prejudices and your stereotypes (all conservatives are mean and evil and greedy), you go into denial and do your best to twist it as best you can to save face. Sure MK27, despite there being overwhelming evidence that conservatives not only donate more money to charity (fact) and donate more blood (fact) and do more voluntary work (fact), it must be a case of conservatives being up to no good somehow. So roll out those references to gun clubs and churches as if you really believe this is how you're going to save face. You're pathetic, man. There is little more tragic than a grown man who won't accept objective reality because it conflicts with his childish fantasies.

    Quote Originally Posted by MK27 View Post
    Furthermore, I give money to panhandlers every day, at least 5% of my gross income goes this way. I cannot deduct that, and whatever grotesque and hateful slurs you are willing to make about panhandling, Sharke, rest assured this is something I see as charity.
    Surrre you do MK27 son. Suuure you do. Despite there being no evidence whatsoever, and despite your obvious frantic panic at having been confronted with a fact you don't like, we'll just give you the benefit of the doubt and believe, on faith, that you give 5% of your gross income to panhandlers (many of whom of course are alcoholics and crack addicts and many of whom have chosen to live on the street and many of whom aren't actually homeless but see subway panhandling as an easy way to supplement their welfare benefits). But even if you do give 5% of your income to charity, that still pales in comparison to the extent to which those greedy, evil capitalist industrialists who create jobs have improved the lives of the poor over the years.

    Quote Originally Posted by MK27 View Post
    Even more caught up in this mess are those genuinely generous religious people who will identify as conservative, Sharke, but I doubt very much would be with you on the idea that we should eliminate taxation and the minimum wage. So there is "conservative", and there is "the wolf in sheep's clothing". You can claim anything you want about yourself, I guess, SHarke. You pray on others, or constantly aspire to do so, and that is at the heart of your politics.
    Yes MK27, I "pray on others." Any other completely and utterly groundless and unwarranted accusations you'd like to make as a substitution for real arguments? Perhaps I spend my days off standing under bridges encouraging people to jump, or set fire to kittens. Are there any depths of depravity that I won't descend to as a result of me supporting property rights? I don't know how I live with myself!

    Oh and by the way, I don't identify myself as conservative and am well aware that there are many conservatives with whom I disagree. I am a right leaning libertarian some of whose views form a union with certain views of conservatives - and believe it or not, I hold certain views on social liberty which coincide with those of liberals. But I agree with conservatives far more often than I agree with liberals, as do many libertarians. And furthermore, eliminating taxation is not an essential aspect of my views. I would be quite happy to pay a much reduced rate of taxation in return for a scaled down government. I would also prefer that everyone pay the same percentage rate of tax, since there is no moral or logical reason to tax people more for being successful.

    Quote Originally Posted by MK27 View Post
    Anyway, I will give you a kind of credit. You have managed to do something no one in the past has convinced me to do, and that is actually join the Democratic party! So congratulations, this is a move to the right in some sense! I believe I can keep my green party membership up to date anyway. (Actually, I've met other anarchists who claimed to be active members of both the democratic AND the republican party -- that's what happens when you have no respect). Obama 2012!
    Great! Because I'm sure the Democrats have much to offer an anarchist. And I'm certain that they will appreciate your dues come November when the electorate expresses just how p.......ed off they are with the socialist jackasses in the Obama administration. I'm very pleased for you and your anarchist friends who are so clever they've managed to join two political parties that they despise. I wish I could be as clever as them.

  14. #59
    spurious conceit MK27's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sharke View Post
    You don't give a jot about the truth - as soon as you're confronted with a statement of fact which shatters your world view, your prejudices and your stereotypes (all conservatives are mean and evil and greedy), you go into denial and do your best to twist it as best you can to save face. Sure MK27, despite there being overwhelming evidence that conservatives not only donate more money to charity (fact) and donate more blood (fact) and do more voluntary work (fact),
    I understand that you want to claim these "facts" in support of your argument, but one study does not constitute "overwhelming evidence", and as I already said, if you discount donations to Churches, those statistics would be different. All you are counting is deductions people make on their tax return (which is a dubious practice to start with IMO). So where you want to see "fact" I see spindoctoring. In any case, this has nothing to do with my world view, it's a straw dog you have created.

    Surrre you do MK27 son. Suuure you do. Despite there being no evidence whatsoever,
    Considering your aforementioned "overwhelming evidence" would have to be polling in the case of volunteer-ism and blood donation, your point about the fact that I could be lying is a good one. If I phoned people up at random and said I was doing a study, asked people to identify as either conservative or liberal, and then asked them if they do good things, perhaps what my poll might really indicate is that conservatives are more willing to lie than liberals.

    Also, volunteering for the tea party, a church, or other political organization is not about charity. I'm not saying that's wrong, and in fact I would rather not bother with an argument about the difference between participating in an organized community (great!) and altruism. Congratulations to those who volunteer time to help with things they believe in (I do), but do not expect me to accept this as altruistic (I don't make that claim). Glad to hear about the blood tho (I'll qualify that as unbiased altruism). At least now in case of accident you will not have to worry about ending up with a disproportionate amount of liberal blood in you.

    Stingy people who identify as liberal do deserve to feel guilty about it.

    many of whom of course are alcoholics and crack addicts and many of whom have chosen to live on the street
    Yes, I understand "freedom" is very narrowly defined by libertarians, I pointed out before you do not believe it at all except in so far as it makes an easy slogan to be hypocritical about. Oh and of course WRT the rights of property owners (evidently, this is the only kind of freedom you understand), which is why I said libertarianism is essentially about private property and not about people.

    Furthermore, all your hullabaloo about stereotyping right-wing extremists evidently flys out the window when it comes to stereotyping anyone else, making your love affair with hypocrisy even clearer.

    and many of whom aren't actually homeless but see subway panhandling as an easy way to supplement their welfare benefits
    I did not say they were necessarily homeless as I know that some of them are not. Nb, churches and other "official" charities also provide services to people on (and off) welfare, homeless or not. I have no doubt that there are a small fraction of people who abuse such things -- taking from food banks when they could easily buy their own -- but there is no easy way around that. Certainly, an excessively paranoid response could be exactly what these cheaters are hoping to provoke. So I try very hard to avoid passing any judgement on the people who ask me for change, because I know from long personal experience that pan handling has no potential -- only someone who really has next to nothing in their pocket would bother.

    WRT to the welfare system in general, it would not be that hard to reduce the unemployment rate to 0%, in which case welfare would be unnecessary for healthy adults. However, no one has the political will to even attempt this, because it would involve changes people are even more uncomfortable with (and no, I am not talking about centralization, nationalization, or communism ), and -- probably more importantly -- without significant unemployment, labour would have a stronger hand to leverage in disputes. Welfare is the price we pay for having a poorly managed and inefficient economy and keeping collective bargaining at bay.

    But even if you do give 5% of your income to charity, that still pales in comparison to the extent to which those greedy, evil capitalist industrialists who create jobs have improved the lives of the poor over the years.
    Not everyone who creates jobs is a greedy, evil capitalist industrialist. Both my parents are capitalists*, my father would be an industrialist in a minor sense, and they have provided entire careers for people, but they are not evil, and they are not unusually greedy either. They would probably be more willing to identify as conservatives than liberals (I consider them conservative, and I still love them!), but I have never heard them seriously complain about having to pay taxes. Which they pay a lot of taxes. I think they are quite happy about how life worked out and do not resent people less fortunate than themselves.

    Anyway, I disagree with the premise here, so what does and does not count as charity (and who actually contributes to it) is immaterial. I do not want to see public services, which are subject to oversight and public scrutiny, and can be held accountable in so far as elected officials are responsible for them, replaced by a system of private charity. At all. This is why I said making taxation optional would solve your problem (or a system whereby you could decide what services you wanted your tax money to fund). If you want to pay for and receive public services, you should be allowed to do so. If you don't want you don't have to -- you can keep your money and help to support things like private schools and hospitals (or not). Those can then be completely unregulated for all I care.

    * in the strict sense of the word -- they leverage capital in the deployment of wage labour based industry, not simply that they are people who "believe in a system".
    Last edited by MK27; 05-30-2010 at 11:38 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MK27 View Post
    I understand that you want to claim these "facts" in support of your argument, but one study does not constitute "overwhelming evidence", and as I already said, if you discount donations to Churches, those statistics would be different. All you are counting is deductions people make on their tax return. So where you want to see "fact" I see spindoctoring. In any case, this has nothing to do with my world view, it's a straw dog you have created.
    Well, it's the largest survey of its kind ever carried out in America. The author, Arthur Brooks, is a registered independent who admits that he wasn't expecting the results to turn out like they did. The difference is so overwhelming that you can't, try as you might, put this down to sly conservatives wanting to avoid paying taxes, or religious people just donating to their churches. In fact Brooks himself said "Actually, the truth is that they're giving to more than their churches. The religious Americans are more likely to give to every kind of cause and charity, including explicitly non-religious charities." You also conveniently ignore that conservatives donate more blood and do more voluntary work than liberals. I think this has a lot to do with the childish world view you've created - nor does it appear that you fully understand what a straw man argument is.

    Quote Originally Posted by MK27 View Post
    Considering your aforementioned "overwhelming evidence" would have to be polling in the case of volunteer-ism and blood donation, your point about the fact that I could be lying is a good one. If I phoned people up at random and said I was doing a study, asked people to identify as either conservative or liberal, and then asked them if they do good things, perhaps what my poll might really indicate is that conservatives are more willing to lie than liberals.
    Yes it would be very convenient to simply brush this off as a case of conservatives being habitual liars, wouldn't it? Nice try Sparky, but that ain't going to cut it. There is no evidence whatsoever to suggest that conservatives are more likely to lie than liberals. You are simply clutching at straws at this point and it looks rather desperate.

    Quote Originally Posted by MK27 View Post
    Also, volunteering for the tea party, a church, or other political organization is not about charity. Glad to hear about the blood tho. At least now in case of accident you will not have to worry about ending up with a disproportionate amount of liberal blood in you.
    Show me who is claiming that volunteering for the Tea Party is counted as "charity." Also, the findings show that those of a conservative or religious nature are more likely than liberals to donate towards and volunteer for secular causes and charities which help people they don't know or don't live near.

    Quote Originally Posted by MK27 View Post
    Stingy people who identify as liberal do deserve to feel guilty about it.
    They would have no need to feel guilty whatsoever if they didn't spend half their time lecturing conservatives and other non-liberals about being mean and greedy. I could not care less what they do with their own money - it's theirs, to spend as they choose.

    Quote Originally Posted by MK27 View Post
    Yes, I understand "freedom" is very narrowly defined by libertarians, I pointed out before you do not believe it at all except in so far as it makes an easy slogan to be hypocritical about. Oh and of course WRT the rights of property owners, which is why I said libertarianism is essentially about private property and not about people.
    It's not that freedom is very narrowly defined by libertarians, it's just that it has a very simply definition. I very much believe in it and you have not pointed out anything to the contrary with any credibility whatsoever. You continue to tell the lie that libertarians like myself are only concerned with property rights, no matter how many times I correct that lie and ask you politely to stop telling it. It appears that despite your earlier smear of conservatives as habitual liars, it is you who cannot stop lying. I wouldn't trust you as far as I could throw you.

    Quote Originally Posted by MK27 View Post
    Furthermore, all your hullabaloo about stereotyping right-wing extremists evidently flys out the window when it comes to stereotyping anyone else, making your love affair with hypocrisy even clearer.
    You weren't stereotyping right wing extremists, you were stereotyping people of the right as extremists. It's this sloppy attention to detail in your use of language which makes me wonder how in the hell you've ever managed to put a computer program together. I'm not stereotyping anyone by the way, I'm simply stating the facts dispassionately.

    Quote Originally Posted by MK27 View Post
    I did not say they were necessarily homeless as I know that some of them are not. Nb, churches and other "official" charities also provide services to people on (and off) welfare, homeless or not. WRT to the welfare system in general, it would not be that hard to reduce the unemployment rate to 0%, in which case welfare would be unnecessary for healthy adults. However, no one has the political will to even attempt this, because it would involve changes people are even more uncomfortable with (and no, I am not talking about centralization, nationalization, or communism ), and -- probably more importantly -- without significant unemployment, labour would have a stronger hand to leverage in disputes. Welfare is the price we pay for having a poorly managed and inefficient economy and keeping collective bargaining at bay.
    Your arguments just get more and more ridiculous. Your point about labor and collective bargaining is all the more ironic given that unions are probably responsible for more unemployment than any other factor in this country. Also, it is not the fact that the economy is "poorly managed," it is the fact that it is managed at all. Central economic planning simply does not work and for very good reasons. Strip away the power of the government to "manage" the economy and cut income taxes so that people have more of their own money to spend and invest, and we'll sharp see unemployment levels drop.

    Quote Originally Posted by MK27 View Post
    Not everyone who creates jobs is a greedy, evil capitalist industrialist. Both my parents are capitalists*, my father would be an industrialist in a minor sense, and they have provided entire careers for people, but they are not evil, and they are not unusually greedy either. They would not identify as liberals, but I still have never heard them seriously complain about having to pay taxes.
    If they were able to keep more of their income, they would be able to create even more jobs, whether or not they're currently unhappy with the situation. Everyone I know who runs a business despises the IRS and for very good reason. Taxes can very easily break a business, especially in its early years when profit margins are tight and constantly hover around the line which separates a viable business from a non-viable one. Many good business ideas are killed by taxes. Many people are discouraged from starting businesses when they see how tight the initial profit margins are going to be and they have no way of knowing whether the next administration is going to raise or lower taxes and by how much. The tax rate should be low and it should be linear and it should be simple.

    Quote Originally Posted by MK27 View Post
    Anyway, I disagree with the premise here, so what does and does not count as charity (and who actually contributes to it) is immaterial. I do not want to see public services, which are subject to oversight and public scrutiny, and can be held accountable in so far as elected officials are responsible for them, replaced by a system of private charity. At all. This is why I said making taxation optional would solve your problem (or a system whereby you could decide what services you wanted your tax money to fund). If you want to pay for and receive public services, you should be allowed to do so. If you don't want you don't have to -- you can keep your money and help to support things like private schools and hospitals (or not). Those can then be completely unregulated for all I care.
    I would like to know where you get the idea from that elected officials are somehow inherently more altruistic, caring or capable than those in the private sector, whether it be private businesses or private charity. Public services are subject to the whim and the motives of unelected, faceless bureaucrats and are often full of corruption which continues through administration after administration. We do not have any kind of granular control whatsoever over where our money goes in terms of public services. We have the chance to vote every four years for a new government who may or may not give a damn about the public service in question on top of the other hundreds of issues that a government takes responsibility for and which people vote over. There is little public accountability in the government - the corruption goes on year after year and has never, at any point in history, shown any signs of getting any better. In contrast, you can decide which causes get your private donations on a granular level. If you discover that a charity is misusing your funds, you can immediately withdraw your support. In that sense, if public services were replaced by private charity then it would encourage competition between charities - a charity which is found to be corrupt and wasteful will very easily lose all of its support as people have the immediate power to cease all donations and direct them elsewhere.

    What you are suggesting with your "opt out" is that there should be no such thing as "public services." If you are not forced to pay for a service out of your taxes, then that service cannot be described as a public service. So what you will have is two sets of private (i.e. funded voluntarily by consumers) services, one of which for some strange reason happens to be run by the government, as if you really believe that the government is better at running things than the private sector.

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