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Thread: "Beauty Lasers" on ebay!!! What?

  1. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by planters View Post
    It is a government pandering to lobbyists and noisy minority interests with bureaucrats operating in the shadows unanswerable to the public. When caught and this is rare they take the fifth.
    Yes. This is largely what happened with Enron. Ken Lay had some thick political ties and was able to operate with impunity while screwing stockholders and residents of California. When caught, all of those guys, save for Jeff Skilling, took the fifth.

    Similarly, as far as lobbyists, this was a point I was making in an earlier post:

    Smoking:
    More than 440,000 deaths annually (including deaths from secondhand smoke)

    No Seatbelts:
    1984, the year before seat-belt laws began to pass, there were 44,257 fatalities.

    It has nothing to do with saving lives, that is incidental. Seatbelts laws generate income for the state from traffic citations. Cigarettes are taxed. The one that is legal is the most dangerous of the two but also generates the most money, not to mention any kickbacks big tobacco may be giving through donations and other monetary offerings. Do I think smoking should be illegal? No. Same with helmets, seatbelts and a ton of other laws to protect our own lives from ourselves. I have a problem with any law that tells me how I cannot live my life under the guise that they are protecting me even if it affects no one else. Eric's assessment is spot-on here.
    Last edited by absolom7691; 08-13-2013 at 14:09.
    Those who fail to grasp art are the ones who criticize it.

  2. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by planters View Post
    The problem here I believe is you have a view of libertarianism that is narrow and as such you rail against what sounds to me very much as an argument against anarchism.
    No, I'm railing against the clearly stated purpose of abolishing the very government agencies that provide valuable services to our society.

    From the Libertarian Party's website:

    For example, Libertarians advocate freedom in economic matters, so we're in favor of lowering taxes, slashing bureaucratic regulation of business, and charitable -- rather than government -- welfare.
    I don't want to see any "slashing" of business regulation. Businesses already have far too much power over the average consumer, even with the considerable protections we currently have in place. Can you imagine what it would be like without the SEC, or the EPA?

    You act as if the problems we face are all caused by the Government; that if only they would step out of the way, the "invisible hand" of the market would make everything better. What you forget is that government stepped in as a RESULT of the failures of the market. In other words, the market CAUSED the problem, and enough people complained about it that the government had to get involved.

    Remember, there were no anti-trust laws prior to the Sherman Act. And even though that initial effort was later de-fanged, by 1914 we had the Federal Trade Commission, which finally began to have a measurable impact. But businesses adapt. Given that their primary purpose is to make money, all other concerns are secondary. And history has shown that absent government regulation, businesses will do whatever they can to make money, and to hell with the consequences.

    The CDC, the FDA, the EPA... All of these agencies have greatly contributed to our society. For a look at what things might be like without them, have a look at China. I don't want their funding to be slashed.

    It is a government pandering to lobbyists and noisy minority interests with bureaucrats operating in the shadows unanswerable to the public.
    "Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others..." (Winston Churchill)

    Let's not throw the baby out with the bathwater here. I agree that there are problems with our government that need to be fixed. But compared to many other countries, we have it pretty good. (Be thankful you don't live in Greece!)

    And yes, I understand that a Democratic Republic is not the same as true Democracy. The quote still fits.

    I think you would come a long way to my position if you would, for a moment, accept my assumption; the government is corrupt, bloated and not to be trusted.
    I absolutely reject your assumption, based on the fact that - despite pockets of waste, fraud, abuse, and outright corruption - our government still provides us with a tremendous list of benefits.

    You say you have lost your faith in the system. Fine. But your proposed solution says nothing about the suffering that will occur when the protection mechanisms in place for our food, our medicine, and our environment are suddenly removed. Your refusal to acknowledge the good that our government does is a clear indicator that you are arguing from a position of emotion, rather than reason. I can't accept that.

    I am not saying our government is totally evil, but it is far, far far from perfect.
    In this, I agree, and honestly it's the first time I've heard you say it. Nevertheless, where we differ is in how to remedy the situation. You seem to advocate cutting off the head of the patient. I'd rather take a less drastic approach that doesn't kill the patient...

    I have no connection with academia.
    I'm sorry for painting you with that brush. I've had this discussion several times before, and it always seemed to be with someone who had deep roots in academia. I regret jumping to that conclusion. Please accept my apology.

    Quote Originally Posted by absolom7691 View Post
    , this was a point I was making in an earlier post:
    Smoking:
    More than 440,000 deaths annually (including deaths from secondhand smoke)

    No Seatbelts:
    1984, the year before seat-belt laws began to pass, there were 44,257 fatalities.
    I'm not sure what you're trying to prove here.?. Are you saying that since there is something more dangerous than automobile crashes, we should not regulate cars at all? That's nonsense (and a false dilema to boot - you can regulate both, and we do).

    Furthermore, if someone wants to smoke cigarettes, and they understand that they are buying a product that has been especially tailored to make it addictive and they understand the health risks... Well, by all means do it. But how many smokers started when they were teenagers (and thus weren't aware of the health risks)? How many had no idea that the cigarette companies were actively altering the nicotine levels to increase demand through addiction? Sure, these days everyone knows this stuff, but it wasn't always the case, and the cigarette companies fought long and hard to keep it a secret.

    Regarding second-hand smoke, that's a different argument entirely. Now your habit is infringing upon the health of others, and that's not cool.

    It has nothing to do with saving lives, that is incidental.
    I'll grant you that cigarette taxes do generate revenue, but that is NOT why they were levied. They were intended to act as a deterrent, and history has shown that the idea works.

    Furthermore, if revenue was the only goal, then why does the government require scary warnings on cigarette packs? If they scare off users, that means they get less money in taxes. Your argument makes no sense.

    Finally, do you honestly believe that seatbelt laws were passed to increase revenue? That's absurd. A seatbelt fine is something like $50, and when they passed the law here in my state you had a 2 year grace period where they would just give you a warning. No, seatbelt laws have always been about saving lives, both by preventing the passengers from being smashed around inside the car and by keeping the driver in position in front of the wheel where he has more control of the crash.

    Adam

    PS: Leaving for SELEM in the morning, so I may not be back here until the event is finished...
    Last edited by buffo; 08-14-2013 at 06:53.

  3. #53
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    Ok (tests water with a very nervous toe)... my take on libertarianism is this: What's wrong with 'liberal'? Never mind the bad press that often accompanies the term, strip it right back to the simplest base. Live and let live. Instead of inventing new words because of unpleasant connotations with the old, isn't it better to go back to the spirit of the thing and start over? That way people can reclaim old words without having to mess around with meanings. The other issue I have with libertarianism whenever I have seen it (a lot in recent years) is that it has gone beyond 'live and let live' (which is all liberalism was meant to be) and now appears to seek a form of limited state and government that imposes this new way on all. I don't see the need. Whatever happened to the old way of dealing with excessive govt restriction: We used to just make ourselves quietly ungovernable. For example, when the electric co wants to impose a 'smart meter' that puts unwanted RF emissions and general annoyance into my home I just refuse to answer their letters because I am entitled by law to resist, and when they want to read the current meter I am all sweetness and light and go out of my way to make that easy for them. While I feel a temptation to back a load of people in demands for less impositions of this kind, it is the act of making demands that usually causes such imposition in the first place, one way or another.

    Another take on this: administration... A lot of govt activity is criticised for being purely administrative, lacking in vision. Works for me... Spare me the reforming zealots, says I.. Let people have their own visions and live by them so long as they live and let live. If govt really did take care of easing the negotiations we all need for power, travel, food supply, etc, then I think we'd like it that bit more for sparing us the trouble. The moment it gets ideology in its collective mouth like a bit in the jaws of a horse, that's when the shit starts to fly. As I see it, libertarianism is a kind of ideology, where as liberalism is a way of life that doesn't really care if others share it or not so long as it can do what it already does without painful restriction.

    Edit: Small but useful point.. When I bought some Rohm laser diodes from Fleming Pedersen in Denmark, one of the things we talked about was the huge taxes he has to pay. He grumbled about it a bit, but he seems quietly content with the security of life that comes with it. The nations with a stronger state in Europe seem to have weathered the recent financial storm far better than the others. People will grumble about taxes, but they don't seem all that willing to move to places with less tax. The exceptions are rare, like that French guy who left France over taxes (A movie director, I think), but most seem to value other things in life more than the difference in taxation between nations. Also, most of the high-tax nations do not have a problem with emigration, it's usually too many people wanting to get in that puts pressure on them. Plenty of people who know real hardship would love to live in a safe high-tax state with a large strong govt.
    Last edited by The_Doctor; 08-14-2013 at 07:31.

  4. #54
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    Adam,


    I'm sorry for painting you with that brush. I've had this discussion several times before, and it always seemed to be with someone who had deep roots in academia. I regret jumping to that conclusion. Please accept my apology.
    No apology necessary. I am touched.

    As for your other points. Are you a member of the liberal party or the conservative party? I ask this facetiously because I am not a member of a defined party rather I believe in a limited government, a much more limited government and the limits are not loosey goosey they are the Constitution and the Bill of rights. But, for what it is worth I agree with the reference to the Libertarian platform that you post.

    Your refusal to acknowledge the good that our government does is a clear indicator that you are arguing from a position of emotion, rather than reason.
    You say you have lost your faith in the system.
    You seem to advocate cutting off the head of the patient. I'd rather take a less drastic approach that doesn't kill the patient...
    I'll leave to others reading this to decide for themselves if I seem to be arguing from a position of emotion or reason. You don't have to agree with a position to agree that that position is supported with reason.

    No I did not! THE SYSTEM that I have faith in is the system of our constitution. The current ruling class in Washington that hides behind unelected agencies and paid "spokesmen" is unpopular( both major parties) with Americans in general. This is not a fringe position.

    Where did I say this? I did not say this. However, I do take issue with your characterization of absolom's points as "absurd and nonsense". And to paraphrase
    "methinks thou doth protest too much" I believe that we have rubbed a nerve or two here. As I said before, I think our fundamental assumptions are irreconcilable and so the arguments that evolve from them will remain unresolved.

    I hope SELEM goes smoothly and I regret that we won't be able to make it this year. Have Fun!
    Last edited by planters; 08-14-2013 at 19:55.

  5. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by planters View Post
    Are you a member of the liberal party or the conservative party? I ask this facetiously because I am not a member of a defined party
    I am also un-affiliated with any political party. I once thought I was a republican, but after the last 20 years I don't know what it means to be a republican anymore. More recently, I thought I was a libertarian, until I took a hard look at the party platform and found things that I absolutely could not condone. These days I'm mostly disappointed I guess. (Is that a political party? It should be...)
    for what it is worth I agree with the reference to the Libertarian platform that you post.
    Then we agree to disagree. In my opinion, the Libertarian party takes "limited government" to an absurd level. I have a feeling if you were to stop and think about what sort of harm could befall you and your family if, say, the FDA was abolished tomorrow, you might understand where I'm coming from. Not having to worry about the safety of the food you eat is something most people take for granted in this country. (Not so much in China though...) Food safety is just one of a number of government protections that I am grateful for. (Note: I can still be upset about other things the government does while acknowledging the good things.)
    THE SYSTEM that I have faith in is the system of our constitution.
    And yet there is nothing in the Constitution to protect our food supply. (To use a topical example.) And since it is no longer practical for people to feed themselves, there is a huge potential for a handful of companies to abuse the lack of oversight on the food supply should the FDA go away. The idea of factory farms and General Mills Incorporated supplying the bulk of our nation's food was a completely foreign concept to our founding fathers.
    The current ruling class in Washington that hides behind unelected agencies and paid "spokesmen" is unpopular( both major parties) with Americans in general. This is not a fringe position.
    Agreed - I also find it unpopular. But slash-and-burn tactics are most definitely a fringe position. There are other solutions that don't require gutting the very protections we have all come to rely on. (So much so that most people completely forget they are there.)
    "methinks thou doth protest too much"
    Perhaps. I admit that I do get my nose out of joint when someone who is educated and wise can not see the good around them, even if there is also evil. Our government may be capable of monstrous evil, but it also does a great deal of good. You seem to enjoy attacking the evil, but without acknowledging the good your argument sounds very rash indeed. And I am not fond of rashness.

    On the point of solving our government's problems, we agree that something must be done. Where we differ is in the magnitude of change.
    I think our fundamental assumptions are irreconcilable and so the arguments that evolve from them will remain unresolved.
    Yes, I think you are correct. And really, even though I try to remain an optimist, I strongly suspect that nothing will change, despite our mutual dissatisfaction with the government. (Now that is a depressing thought.)
    I hope SELEM goes smoothly and I regret that we won't be able to make it this year. Have Fun!
    SELEM was a great time, and you were missed! There were several conversations where I thought to myself: "Eric should be here - he knows the answer to this question!" As for going smoothly, well, there are always problems and this year was no different, but I do think we are getting better. It certainly was a lot of fun though. Hope you and your boys can make it next year!

    Adam

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