Archive for May, 2011

Me and clint debate..

Sunday, May 8th, 2011

Okay, so ClintJCL posted a reply to my last entry, which I’m going to take one point at a time.

Clint: I don’t need to subjugate worlds, there’s plenty of evidence of how things work here in the real world.

There’s evidence for all sorts of things here in the ‘real world’. If the latter phrase has any meaning.

Later in your reply you suggest that I’m unable to use logic in considering the way the world will behave. I don’t think that’s true – I just think we start with a different set of beliefs, from which different conclusions logically follow. One of my beliefs is that there is no objective ‘real world’ – that there are in fact a whole series of subjective ‘real worlds’ occuring individually inside the minds of each of us. There’s more data coming at us than we can possibly absorb and the dataset that we choose to experience, and believe, and call our own is driven by our beliefs.

Clint: You can’t just “stop funding” for NARAL. They are free people free to collect money from other free people. People don’t just magically do your bidding – or indeed you’d be able to subjugate this world.

I wasn’t suggesting we ‘stop funding’ in the sense of officially declaring ‘No more NARAL’. I was suggesting that we as individual free people start spending our money and energy in more efficient ways than continually funding a equally balanced debate over whether we should or shouldn’t publicly fund abortions. Basically, saying those who are pro-choice provide funding for abortions. I understand that your view is if there were no longer pro-abortion activist groups funded by pro-abortion people then anti-abortion people would quickly act to make abortion illegal. My counterargument is that perhaps the anti-abortion people are taking a extremist stance because they are emotionally upset by the fact that their dollars are going to fund abortions, and they might take a more moderate stance if that was not the case. Essentually, I’m suggesting that both sides disarm since it doesn’t seem likely that either side is going away, and we agree that anti-abortion people don’t have to fund abortions in exchange for anti-abortion people agreeing not to try and make abortions unobtainable. I don’t know whether this would work – it probably depends on what the motivation of anti-abortion people is. If they are just upset that their resources are going to kill people, they should be willing to come to some agreement. If they see themselves as guardians of the public morals, then they may be unable to disarm whatever the cost. I think that laws to legislate morality are sick and wrong, and maybe what we should be doing instead of taking them all on a case by case basis is banding together to try and convince people in general that legislating morality (as opposed to laws to reduce harm) is a bad idea.

Clint: Furthermore, if you limit the funding of some activity only for those who believe in it, then activity is not determined by what is right, but by who is rich. If only 1% of people support something, and they are poor, it doesn’t get funded. What you are basically asking for as a tyranny of the majority run by aristocracy. There’s not simply a magical amoutn of money available for what a group of people want or need.

Well, right now, what we have is a system where activity is determined not by what is right, but by who is both rich and inclined to grab power. I’m suggesting that we should remove the second part of the equation. Ultimately, I’m not a big believer in money – a system that tries to represent all types of value in a single variable is inherently flawed, because among other things, there are different types of value and they don’t play on the same field. Some things become more valuable when more of them are made (i.e. a fax machine) while others become less valuable (i.e. a scarce resource). Some things gain value when they are copied (i.e. music that becomes a cultural rosetta stone, video games that support multiplayer modes) while other things do not. Some types of value are eternal (i.e. a song, once found, is ours forever) while others do not (physical resources like gold and oil get used up, and can only be used once). Abstracting all these things to a single variable seems likely to cause problems.

Clint: Hell, if you only had people who believed in vaccinations pay for them (instead of funding research through compulsory taxes) — between the antivax crowd, and religious people who don’t want to fund science, our vax tech would probably be 100 years behind, and you’d probably already be dead from measles.

I don’t know that. Why I don’t know that would be a subject for another, much longer debate.

Clint: Except you’d probably have never been born because we’d be speaking Germany or Japanese, because if things were your way, only people who believed in war would fund the army, and we would end up defenseless and unable to magically conjure up an army by the snap of our fingers after Pearl Harbor.

I’d still have been born, just born into a different world. Whether it would be better or worse is not something we’re equipped to predict, because of emergant behaviors. Also, I think a lot of people believed in WWII being a necessary thing, and where you have a bunch of people believing in something, you are going to get results pretty quickly. Consider how quickly the Apollo system – the biggest machine ever built by man, and a much more complicated animal than, for example, a atomic bomb – was designed, built, and deployed. I believe in war to protect against insanity. I don’t believe in war over resources, or political or economic idealogy. I think the majority of people would believe it was necessary to ramp up military technology and assemble a army to fight in WWII – and Germany and Japan weren’t really equipped to attack mainland U.S. and by the time they had been, we’d have built some things to fight back. I also think that if you just had those who believed we needed to be ready for war now fund war tech, the results would still be a much larger army than we need to protect us against the current level of threat.

Clint: Then again, we might not have even colonized America, because columbus was funded by the king – and if the king only got money from people who believed there should be a king….

I believe there will always be people who believe in exploration, because curiosity is a fundamental part of intelligent life.

Clint: Then there’s the whole national health care vs american health care. We’re the only industrialized nation where you basically only pay into health care if you believe in paying for it.. (Of course, lots can’t afford it, which speaks to my aristocracy points above.)

I see your point – and I believe that health care is a much better thing to be funded by the government than extreme levels of military tech.  I think the majority of people want access to health care. I also think that insurance is something that, when run for profit, tends to slide towards corruption. The problem with *any* for-profit insurance is that the company has motivations to try and cheat the insured, in order to maximize profit. I also think that hospitals are vastly overbilling because they can get away with it – they’re a industry that is not required to submit a quote prior to work, a industry where you often can’t easily hop over to the competition.

Clint: You’re such an impressively logical person on the computer. I have a hard time comprehending why your excellent mental abilities only seem to work inside the computer case, but not outside. It’s damn confusing to me. At least it’s interesting. :)

I think that we start from different precepts. It’s not that I’m not using logic, it’s just that I’m using that logic on a very different set of views than you have.

Clint: BTW – politics is truth, and affect everything. Every breath you take, the quality of air, every bite of food that goes into your body, the flame retardant chemicals in all of our bodies, every time you poop, your sewage, your computer usage – it’s all governed by politics. Politics is simply the administration of reality. To ignore it is to basically ignore a large portion of how the real world works. It’s good for stress (physical effects of stress on the body), but poor for fostering a proper understanding of the real world systems that actually govern us.

I don’t really agree with this statement at all.

Clint: Of course, if only people who believed in funding computer research paid for it – we probably wouldn’t be talking online right now. Compulsory military taxes made the research and implementation of the internet possible.

Definitely don’t agree with this statement. We as consumers loved computers, bought them by the droves. Computer networks were inevitable. And, I think that if the military hadn’t built the ARPAnet, someone else would have. There were a number of other, competing network designs – ARPA just happened to be the first people who chose a big enough address space and implemented it enough places.

Clint: Just call me secretary of keepin’ it real.

Well, start out by defining what the world ‘real’ means to you. Are you a objectivist? Do you believe in the quantum observer effect, and if so, what effect on the system does having me as a observer have, given that I don’t believe the system I see in front of me is the only reality, and I believe that the flaws I see in it are reflections of the flaws in me? Is it more important to be firmly grounded in the sickness that is all-american ‘reality’ than to be happy? If so, why?

A modest proposal..

Wednesday, May 4th, 2011

Ending the abortion debate – and problem – in one easy move: If we took all the money that we’re spending on pro-abortion punditry and put it into a trust fund to pay for people’s abortions instead – basically, stop funding NARAL and the other political organizations agitating for abortion, and instead just have those of us who are pro-choice contribute directly to a trust fund to make sure people who can’t otherwise afford abortions have access to them, would this not end the problem and let the rest of the health care and reproductive health people get their money?

Actually, we could take this all sorts of fun places. We could have only those who wanted war contribute money to the army, too. 😉 Right now, it seems like a great racket to be in is to be a political action organization who sends out emotionally inflamed emails every few weeks saying how if you just send $35 now we can beat those no-good-nicks on the other side (who are doing exactly the same thing). In other words, we’re spending a lot of money getting nothing done while we carefully balance two opposing forces. Sending the money to support abortions directly seems like a better solution.

I pretty much try to stay out of politics – I don’t watch the news, I try not to read any news – because among other things it seems totally pointless and like the entire system exists to benefit the politicians. But it does seem to me like we could end the debate and just have pro-choice people directly provide funding for abortions – and end up spending less than we’re spending now for organizations to shove ads at each other.