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Monday Message Board (on Tuesday)

December 4th, 2012

A belated Monday Message Board. Post comments on any topic. As usual, civilised discussion and no coarse language. Lengthy side discussions to the sandpits, please.

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  1. MG42
    December 4th, 2012 at 12:13 | #1

    I’ve always believed that glibertarians are too dull to realise the inherent contradictions in their own ideology. The fact they still persist with that tiresome cult is a constant source of annoyance.

    Let me take one example: the statement “taking property without the consent of the owner is theft.” is just thrust out there with no context. What they normally mean by that is “taxation is theft!”

    Let’s totally demolish that so those glibertarians can leave the cult and lead normal, productive lives. The Crown is ultimate owner of the lands through (at the time) legitimate means of conquest. In glib speak, they have ultimate property rights, and all of the cute philosophical arguments they sprout regarding ownership and might and property fully apply to that body. The Constitution lays down the rights and responsibilities of citizens and the various levels of government. Your parents selected for you to receive citizenship, therefore, as you are on the owners land and fit into that category, you are liable to the rules.

    Now, like you, I wish I didn’t have to pay taxes. I also wish that I didn’t have to pay the mortgage. But hey, I chose the house, I pay for it. If you are over 18, there is nothing stopping you from leaving and choosing the life you want anywhere on Earth excepting the usual free market transaction costs. But as usual, it’s far easier to whine about gubmint oppression and statism and how you would be a billionaire railroad magnate if government would just stop their market intervention.

  2. may
    December 4th, 2012 at 12:50 | #2

    the idea that neediness is purely a result of personal irresponsibilty and should be punished by leaving those guilty of such behaviour to stew in their own juice means that the proponents of this better not make a wrong step.

    the idea that the successful amassers have done it by extraordinary superiority means all the conditions such as educated personnel,infrastructure and inventions are not free inheritance and all their own work.
    (just because the work being done is paid for to educated people doesn’t mean the cost of the education of those people is.)

    blether?

  3. Ikonoclast
    December 4th, 2012 at 13:37 | #3

    @MG42

    In a consititutional parliamentary democracy, the formal framework comes from the constitution but continuing legitimacy comes from the people. The state, e.g. Australia, is a republic or a Commonwealth. I prefer the now old-fashioned term of the “Commonwealth of Australia” and lament its abandonment.

    A consititutional parliamentary democracy is a place of “common wealth”. It can also mean the “common weal” meaning the common good. Such a state “owns” and manages the lands and resources on behalf of and at the behest of the people who are the real owners and managers.

    Since most of us support and accede to this system we indicate our overall ongoing support of consititutional parliamentary democracy. The libertarians are still fringe and are gaining little traction for their minarchist state. I wouldn’t worry too much about them.

    I’m a liberal democratic socialist with a post-capitalist workers’ cooperatives bias so I get ignored as a crank as much as the libertarians do. Being ignored is good for us. It teaches us our complete unimportance outside our small family and social circle.

  4. PJM
    December 4th, 2012 at 16:13 | #4

    @Ikonoclast Sound like awesome politics to me.

  5. Jordan
    December 4th, 2012 at 17:31 | #5

    IMO, libertarians belong to the conservative movement with its main goal of preserving the aristocracy (rulling elite) and its royalty status they enjoy within the movement. Libertarians more openly present their goals then moderate conservative but it is the same goal.
    Worker cooperatives would destroy the present hierarchy of the rulling elite and as such it is their enemy, biggest enemy. They will not allow it except trough the small door as fringe idea.

  6. December 4th, 2012 at 20:14 | #6

    The revised expectation that average temperatures will increase in the order of 3-6 degrees Celsius occasioned by the Doha Summit meeting – a kind of cop nothing given that China and India are apparently not prepared to reduce carbon emissions – might give pause. How did we get ourselves into this situation. It occurs to me, in relation to this issue governments fearful of their electoral shadow pursuing timidity as realpolik act to disempower and disengage the electorate, although one doubts were climate change deniers are capable of open debate.

    George Monbiot at The Guardian has a take on this issue in relation to the small government ideology. Libertarians do not understand government, so they purpose the seeming absurdity of no government, which I too suspect amounts to the same proposals of the NeoCons.

  7. Katz
    December 5th, 2012 at 08:22 | #7

    Boehner blinks:

    House Speaker John Boehner’s decision to take plum committee assignments away from four conservative Republican lawmakers after they bucked party leaders on key votes isn’t going over well with conservative advocacy groups that viewed them as role models.

    [snip]

    “The GOP leadership might think they have silenced conservatives, but removing me and others from key committees only confirms our conservative convictions,” [conservative Republican Congressman Tim] Huelskamp said in a statement Tuesday. “This is clearly a vindictive move, and a sure sign that the GOP establishment cannot handle disagreement.”

    http://news.ino.com/headlines/?newsid=686528657767793

    Expect bloodletting in the shambling wreck that is the GOP.

  8. December 5th, 2012 at 12:12 | #8

    The cost of installed solar for systems under 10 kilowatts in size is now about $2 in Germany and apparently less than $2 US:

    http://www.photovoltaik-guide.de/pv-preisindex

    As there is no particular reason why we can’t do the same, I expect us to get down to $2 an installed watt before too much time passes. Australia’s average installation size is smaller, but it’s increasing, and both Germany and Australia are high wage countries.

    Given that most people who install rooftop solar own a roof and generally have pretty low borrowing costs, this means that at German prices a kilowatt-hour from rooftop solar will cost an Australian about 10 cents before Renewable Energy Cetificates are included, provided interest rates don’t shoot up. Even if the owner of a system exports half the electricity they produce and gets ripped off and receives nothing in return for supplying low emission electricity to the grid, it’s still significantly cheaper to install solar than to rely on grid electricity. It would take a large drop in daytime retail electricity prices to discourge rooftop solar installations, and if prices are increased in the evening to compensate, that will encourage home and business energy storage.

    As many Australians now get nothing for exporting solar electricity to the grid, it’s interesting how quickly we’ve gone from subsidising solar to using new solar to subsidise the rest of the grid.

  9. Hermit
    December 5th, 2012 at 16:31 | #9

    @Ronald Brak
    You’ve said this on an earlier thread. Check ads and you will see that it has been possible to get 5kw of PV installed for $10k from about August. Wholesale NEM spot prices set by large generators are in the range 5-8c per kwh or $50-$80 per Mwh. That’s the opportunity cost to electricity resellers so that’s what the residential PV feed-in tariff should be. In heatwaves that price will go up even after the sun goes down.

    This is the weird bit… people still want to run their aircons after dark in humid weather. They want warm food, hot water and electric heating in weeks of overcast cold weather. The friendly coal and gas generators provide that essential electricity. Perhaps they should do knitting on sunny days. To cover their reduced cost spread the dispatchable generators will charge more for that service with carbon tax not helping. Will the PV owner still be in front after higher night and southern winter prices for electricity? The economics aren’t as clear cut as you think.

  10. Ikonoclast
    December 5th, 2012 at 23:12 | #10

    The plain fact of the matter is that the technology exists at the macro scale to economically provide solar power 24 hours a day. The idea that solar cannot provide power 24/7 is plain false.

    Solar convection towers produce more power at night than by day as the temperature differential between the surface and top of the towers is greater at night. The temperature differential induces a convection air-flow which runs from base to top which runs inlet sited wind turbines housed around the base.

    In Concentrated Solar Power, the concentrated sunlight is converted to heat, and then the heat is converted to electricity via a heated pressurised gas running turbines. Extra energy is stored in molten salt tanks and this energy is used at night to heat and pressurise the gas and run the turbines.

    Game, set and match. Society can be powered by solar and wind 24/7. Too bad we have left it too late and burnt so much fossil fuel that 6 degress of AGW is now built in. We could have saved ourselves but the “beloved-by-neocons” but totally maladaptive corporate capitalist system cruelled our only hope.

  11. December 5th, 2012 at 23:14 | #11

    @wmmbb

    George Monbiot correctly refers to neoliberalism. The italic script is due to my syntax error.

  12. Chris Warren
    December 5th, 2012 at 23:21 | #12

    These lying capitalists – the cause of the banking collapse

    A British parliamentary inquiry has exposed the underlying reasons for the banking collapses (and by implication the GFC). The head of one of UK’s biggest banking disasters, HBOS, told a pack of lies to UK public regulators, the Financial Services Authority.

    Head of HBOS, Lord Stevenson, just months before the collapse in 2008, asserted to the FSA that there was no reason to be concerned about its unusually high reliance on wholesale funding. After claiming that HBOS was a highly conservative institution, he advised that he “was not aware of any lurking horrors in our business … quite the reverse … HBOS in an admittedly uncertain and insecure world is in as secure a position as it could be” He concluded:

    The bottom line is, without wishing to be the slightest bit complacent, we feel that HBOS in this particular storm … is in as safe a harbour as is possible.

    This was rubbish, lending was increasing faster than deposits, and assets were growing slower than liabilities. HBOS also lost £3.6 billion in Australia. It had acquired BankWest which is now part of Commonwealth Bank. HBOS quickly fronted up to the Bank Of England for “emergency liquidity”. HBOS is now part of UK’s Lloyds TSB.

    But the problem is that it is inherent within capitalism, that credit and debt will always exceed deposits, and assets will always grow slower than liabilities. In fact much of deposits themselves are prior lendings and asset prices are inflated by loose money and liabilities even more so.

    The solution is not to invent some religious belief in society ever ensuring that lending = savings. This is for wimps and contradicts capitalism. Under capitalism, if you try or even suggest that lending will balance savings, capitalists will immediately take to the airwaves and raise all manner of rukus and increase unemployment to intolerable levels.

    You need socialism. Obviously.

    [see Financial Times, Wed. 5 December, p1, 19]

  13. Ikonoclast
    December 6th, 2012 at 06:15 | #13

    @wmmbb

    Monbiot touches on a number of significant issues. The central one is the doublethink involved, particularly that employed by our politicans as they all follow the neoliberal playbook.

    “Doublethink, a word coined by George Orwell in the novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, describes the act of simultaneously accepting two mutually contradictory beliefs.”- Wikipedia.

    Julia Gillard and her Labor government simultaneously put forward the views that;

    (a) global warming is real, increasingly deleterious and it is caused by burning fossil fuels; and
    (b) we can and must continue to expand our coal industry to be prosperous.

    The self-contradicting lunacy is obvious. The correct logic is equally obvious;

    1. Global warming is real, increasingly deleterious and it is caused by burning fossil fuels.
    2. We must stop burning all fossil fuels within a generation (about 25 to 35 years).*
    3. Fossil fuels must be regarded as toxic stranded assets and banned in the above timeframe.
    4. The carbon tax must reflect the full cost of the negative externality. **
    5. Fossil fuel businesses must receive no direct protection, compensation or assistance. ***

    * Note: This is a timeframe which is economically and energetically feasible and is the longest allowable timframe which gives us some probability of avoiding existentially disastrous climate chage.

    ** Note: Points 4 and 5 indicate a double-barrelled approach of both pricing and legislating fossil fuel burning out of existence. Energy must be correctly priced including all negative externality costs. Renewable energy implementation in one generation will require both state-directed (dirigist) action and market mechanisms.

    *** Note: Compensation for a business risk is completely unacceptable. The possibility of being saddled with stranded assets (unsaleable or devalued assets) at any time due to any unforeseen or changing circumstances is a simple risk of business. Business must insure against this risk or take the risk and bear the losses.

    Unemployment is another matter. Unemployment caused by the end of the fossil fuel industries can be totally alleviated by increased employment in the generation-long crash program to change the entire economy to 100% renewables. Indeed, it is highly likely that such a nation-building infrastructure program fully funded by the Future Fund and budget deficits would, with economic flow-ons, entirely solve unemployment for a generation. Consequent structural changes and increased public awareness of the benefits of healthy public expenditure would very likely effect a perceptual and ideological paradigm change such that these advantages would be retained for at least another generation or two thereafter.

    Final Note: For those who say we are (a) insignificant emitters on a global scale and (b) we cannot influence China’s policy there is this answer. Including our total coal exports moves us up the scale of significant CO2 emitters. If we don’t export it then China, India et. al. can’t burn it.

    Refusal to export fossil fuels (though a sovereign act) could be seen by foreign powers as a hostile act. China and India could regard it as a casus belli. Regular readers of this blog will know I am a strident critic of the USA in many ways. Nevertheless, Realpolitiks dictate that we remain a US ally. A simple bi-lateral agreement with the US to withhold all Australian uranium from foreign sale except to the US for the express purpose of nuclear power generation in the US to replace CO2 emissions would suffice. US geopolitical and geostrategic interests would be fully satisfied.

  14. Ikonoclast
    December 6th, 2012 at 06:34 | #14

    @Chris Warren

    Chris, what do you think of Worker Cooperative Socialism as opposed to “state socialism”?* Every business and corporation becomes a worker owned, worker managed cooperative business within a dirigist social democracy framework.

    * Note: So-called State socialism is state capitalism anyway. Witness the real trajectories of Russia and China.

    http://www.newint.org/features/2012/07/01/co-operatives-international-year/

  15. MG42
    December 6th, 2012 at 12:51 | #15

    I was just thinking how the choice of the two US Presidential candidates really reflects the underlying ideologies of America.

    The loser, Romney, was born a white male to a multimillionaire family during the most prosperous period in history. As he grew up, he turned out to be tall, straight, handsome, intelligent, with a Type A personality and zero physical or mental problems. He had literally every single advantage you could ever think of to be able to get ahead in life. He is wholly oblivious to his immense leg up in life and literally cannot comprehend that life experience for others could be vastly different if just one of those variables listed above were to change. To use the baseball analogy, all he had to do was reach out and touch the home plate. He never had to worry about the company he worked at going under/taken over/restructured, how he was going to structure work and education, severe sickness in the family, the risk of prolonged unemployment, a very costly emergency, or any of those 99% problems.

    Compare to Obama. You could call his family middle-class, a smart biracial Hawaiian kid had a life plan, studied on the East coast without a dollar to his name, earned his graduate law degree working a procession of crappy retail jobs, graduated, worked with some of the poorest people in society, lectured in law, became Senator at an early age, then President. And some people have the nerve to call him a failure as a man.

    Contrast the wealthy vs middle class. Contrast the white vs the diverse. Contrast the entitlement vs meritocracy. Contrast the oblivious vs the grateful.

  16. December 6th, 2012 at 21:00 | #16

    The loser, was born a white male to a multimillionaire family during the most prosperous period in history. As he grew up he turned out to be tall, straight handsome, intelligent, he had every advantage you could ever think of to be able to get ahead in life. He spent 2 years of his life overseas as a missionary. He was competent enough to take advantage of his leg up, attended a university that accepted him on the basis of his religion & academic achievement. He used this education and contacts to achieve what few men can, he ran a company not merely profitably, but in a resoundingly successful manner. Though achieving far above the level of his peer group, he still gave personal attention to this responsibilities of his religion. His personal conduct was at all times moral, ethical, dutiful.

    Compared to the winner. His presence was an impediment to his mother’s lifestyle with her new stud, so the boy was dumped with his grandmother, who raised him. He was accepted into a university because of the colour of his skin, spent time overseas “finding himself” and for the next 30 years never held a self-funding job. That is, every job he held was subsidised by others. He never made it to a level where he gained any executive experience, in fact his first term of 4 years was the longest he’d ever held a job in his life. He repaid his grandmother’s effort at raising him by publicly denigrating her memory as soon as she died. He associated with known terrorists, and without a single achievement to his name, vapidly published several books about…. himself.

    How can he even be called a man?

    Contrast them. One moral, diligent, successful. The other oblivious to what a failure history will judge him to be.

  17. rog
    December 6th, 2012 at 21:19 | #17

    @Steve at the Pub Obviously not too successful and only just recently a failure.

  18. December 6th, 2012 at 21:34 | #18

    @Ikonoclast

    To me the critical question relates to the time frame for policy. Are we at the point, or passed it, when sound judgement requires going cold turkey on coal and related sources of greenhouse gases?

    The contradictions regarding the continued use of fossil fuels can be understood in part by the close political relationship between national governments and monopoly capital corporations, which are allegedly led by, or conducive to, psychopathetic personalities. By contrast solar and other alternative energy production are from that perspective decentralized and a threat.

    The issues related to climate change are scientific, political and moral. It seems the economic implications are covered. As Dr Bill Hare explained on Democracy Now, there is a ,a href=”http://www.democracynow.org/2012/12/4/world_bank_study_warns_of_devastating”> “collective action problem”.

  19. MG42
    December 6th, 2012 at 21:44 | #19

    SatP’s analysis: first hagiographic, then muck-raking. Notice I never said anything about Romney being a bad person, simply out of touch.

    What the hell is it about the right and their constant personal attacks? Seriously, are they 12, calling all the other MEAN people doodyheads? They are out there in droves, and the worst news is, each one of their votes cancels out one of yours.

  20. Katz
    December 6th, 2012 at 21:46 | #20

    One strapped his dog to the roof of his car.

    The other one didn’t.

  21. December 6th, 2012 at 21:48 | #21

    @Ikonoclast
    Didn’t work. Here, Dr Bill Hare identifies the “collective action problem” on Democracy Now.

  22. TerjeP
    December 6th, 2012 at 21:55 | #22

    I recently “smoked” an e-cigarette in an Australian bar. I use inverted commas because there is actually zero smoke with an e-cigarette. What they actually produce, which you can puff like smoke, is warm water vapor. Basically you puff warm flavoured fog. The one I puffed had atomised nicotine in the vapour but some don’t. The correct term is actually vaping not smoking.

    The couple I was talking to actually vaped for a few hours whilst I was talking to them. Unlike smoking there was no smell to the bystander. I’m mildly asthmatic and if they had been smoking that close to me for that long I would have been bothered but there was no notable smell in the air. Also if they had smoked in my company that long my clothes would have ended up smelly but that was not the case. If they had been smoking they would also have been in breach of the law but they were vaping so there was no objection from the establishment.

    Vaping e-cigarettes is apparently (depends who you ask) 100x safer than smoking cigarettes because there is no tar etc. Even when they are used with nicotine in them some say the harm is on par with the caffeine in a cup of coffee. Again it depends who you ask.

    A number of people claim to have gone from smoking a packet of cigarettes a day to zero simply by swapping from smoking to vaping. Unlike nicotine patches and the like e-cigarettes go beyond just catering to the smokers nicotine addiction and also provide a substitute for the behavioural addiction.

    I’m quite impressed with these gadgets and thought I’d spread the word and listen for feedback.

  23. TerjeP
    December 6th, 2012 at 22:07 | #23

    MG42 – can you name any ideology that is entirely devoid of contradictions? Libertarianism is built on consequentialist arguments as much as points of principle such as “tax is theft”. And few libertarians are pure anarchists so most accept taxation at some level. I think libertarians are in general aware of the potential contradiction you outline but also have something called a sense of perspective. Besides sovereignty isn’t the same as ownership even though they are similar. Just as tax and theft are similar.

  24. December 7th, 2012 at 00:27 | #24

    Yep, one ate his dog,
    the other one put his on the roof of the car.

  25. Chris Warren
    December 7th, 2012 at 01:17 | #25

    @Ikonoclast

    Such cooperatives are the most suitable form for moving an educated, democratic society towards a stable economy. It requires a lot of participation by rank-and-file workers to avoid being swamped by the special interests of managers and so-called representatives.

    The Mondragon experience is illuminating but – as in your link:

    There is no question that mutual support works. The massive Mondragon Co-operative, a $23-billion global operation in Spain’s Basque region, is a case in point. Of the group’s 270 component companies, only one has gone out of business during the current Spanish crisis. And all these workers were absorbed by other co-ops.
    Co-operative by nature

    Despite Mondragon’s success we live with an economic system that is inimical to the spirit of co-operation. Competition and efficiency are its watchwords. You could even say it is systemically unco-operative, based on individuals operating in their own self-interest.

    Co-operatives, if they act as democratic capitalists against other capitalists, do not really have a long-term future. Mondragon uses society to protect its own workers, just as other capitalists use society to protect themselves.

    Nonetheless they are very useful in the medium term as long as they do not preach democratic capitalism or expect markets to serve all purposes.

  26. rog
    December 7th, 2012 at 05:10 | #26

    @MG42 The conservatives were the architects of their failure. By portraying Romney as a successful businessman they demonstrated a preference for profit over policy, for a leader who will make snap decisions in response to immediate demands rather than pursue a more principled long term objective. For the GOP the party is over.

  27. Katz
    December 7th, 2012 at 05:22 | #27

    The roof-strapped dog was called Shamus.

    What was the name of the eaten dog, SATP?

  28. Ikonoclast
    December 7th, 2012 at 09:15 | #28

    @Steve at the Pub

    How does what someone’s mother allegedly did go to illustrate their (the son’s or daughter’s) character. It seems that SATP believes in the “blood taint” theory of human personality and character. Also, witness the claim that Obama was accepted into University for the colour of his skin. Positive discrimination (if it occurred in this case) was implemented to reverse (at least partially) much previous negative discrimination. It is in some ways like paying back a debt or paying compensation for previous injury. I bet SATP likes to be repaid if he is owed a debt or compensation.

  29. December 7th, 2012 at 09:25 | #29

    Katz’ sense of the irrelevant tends to surface at irrelevant times!
    Name is not a factor when choosing a dog to eat for lunch.
    Romney put his dog on top of the car. Hardly the first person to do so.
    Obama ate dog. Hardly the first person to do so. But VERY likely the first US presidential candidate who has put on a bib & tucked into one!

    That was one of the more cute aspects to the US presidential campaign, they way the unhinged left first carried on about a dog on the roof, then with lightning speed dropped the subject of “dog”, once they were reminded that the great doofus had admitted to eating dog. For they knew well that in the minds of the voting rubes, eating a puppy is a far worse sin than taking one on holiday with the whole family.

  30. Katz
    December 7th, 2012 at 10:00 | #30

    Washington’s troops ate dog at Valley Forge:

    http://www.jcs-group.com/military/war1775colonists/forge.html

    If dog is good enough for the father of the nation, it should be good enough for any aspirant to the Oval Office.

    If only Romney had eaten Seamus, he might have inspired some respect.

  31. December 7th, 2012 at 10:10 | #31

    Curiously the “it was good enough for Washington’s men” defence was not used by Obama’s supporters.

    Wonder why not?

  32. Katz
    December 7th, 2012 at 10:18 | #32

    Do you have a theory SATP?

  33. MG42
    December 7th, 2012 at 11:09 | #33

    Steve at the Pub :
    Katz’ sense of the irrelevant tends to surface at irrelevant times!
    Name is not a factor when choosing a dog to eat for lunch.
    Romney put his dog on top of the car. Hardly the first person to do so.
    Obama ate dog. Hardly the first person to do so. But VERY likely the first US presidential candidate who has put on a bib & tucked into one!
    That was one of the more cute aspects to the US presidential campaign, they way the unhinged left first carried on about a dog on the roof, then with lightning speed dropped the subject of “dog”, once they were reminded that the great doofus had admitted to eating dog. For they knew well that in the minds of the voting rubes, eating a puppy is a far worse sin than taking one on holiday with the whole family.

    False equivalence. Eating dog as a child in a third world country in no way compares with mistreatment of an animal by a rich man (with all the means to avoid said animal cruelty) in a first world country.

    Keep clutching at those right-wing straws, boy-o.

  34. December 7th, 2012 at 12:10 | #34

    MG42, you don’t get it, & likely never will.
    Evolve a sense of humour.

    But you are right, there is no equivalence between treating a dog to a holiday and eating the dog.

    By the way, you’ll have to learn to love the right wing, for without them to pay the bills, the left could never exist.

  35. MG42
    December 7th, 2012 at 13:02 | #35

    Steve at the Pub :
    \By the way, you’ll have to learn to love the right wing, for without them to pay the bills, the left could never exist.

    Major, mega, super-sized CITATION NEEDED.

  36. December 7th, 2012 at 13:54 | #36

    MG42, the clue is in one of the left’s most used phrases:
    “Redistribute wealth”

    You will note that nowhere in there is the word “Create wealth”.

  37. Jordan
    December 7th, 2012 at 22:43 | #37

    @Steve at the Pub

    The only way to create sustainable wealth of a nation is by redistributing wealth. Operating words are sustainable and whole nation’s wealth.

    You might not care about nation’s wealth so you can not figure out what and why i said it.

  38. Chris Warren
    December 8th, 2012 at 01:33 | #38

    @Steve at the Pub

    So what do you want – capitalist wealth with greed and calamity, or socialist wealth with equity and sustainability?

    Obviously you don’t realise just how much wealth the public sector has produced in and for society. Would you want capitalism to charge market prices for fire services?

    If it was left to capitalists to eradicate smallpox or land on the moon, it would never have happened.

  39. Ikonoclast
    December 8th, 2012 at 05:21 | #39

    Agreed. The claims that only private enterprise “creates wealth” and that private enterprise is always more efficient than public enterprise are claims made from a blinkered ideological position. The making of such claims depends on the ignoring of much empirical evidence.

    It is worth noting that “Defining wealth can be a normative process with various ethical implications.” – Wikipedia.

    The use of phrases like “create wealth” usually reveals a bias towards a narrow definition of wealth as personally held money and material goods which definition is made without regard to the common good or issues of negative externality in the social or ecological spheres. Many products which capitalism tends to over-produce and distribute recklessly do not create but destroy wealth or weal (well-being) on a full accounting of all their effects. Bombs, guns and alcohol come to mind in this context.

  40. rog
    December 8th, 2012 at 06:05 | #40

    @Steve at the Pub Wealth is created by society, individuals who are wealthy are not necessarily productive and should not be used as examples of national wealth.

  41. Ikonoclast
    December 8th, 2012 at 08:45 | #41

    SATP is an unschooled, ossified, right wing reactionary. As such he is ineducable and unsalvgeable. We might as well not waste our comments.

    I infinitely prefer a libertarian like TerjeP to such right-wing reactionaries. Libertarians value personal freedoms, pluralism and individual differences. Libertarians prefer non-violent, non-coercive approaches to issues. These are all good points. OK, I part company with libertarians on the minimal state issue. I see a well-ordered state as the “little person’s” best protection from violence, coercion and oppression. I see violence and coercion as more likely to come from as anarchic state of affairs or from the oligarchy, warlordism or despotism likely to arise in the absence of a strong positive state.

    I think the reason libertarinism is so strong in the USA is that they have a poor constitution and a badly constituted state. The US state gives states a bad name. That’s what it boils down to. The US is not a democracy. It is an oligarchic republic with a pretence of democracy erected around it. And that is exactly what the Founding Fathers (mostly oligarchs themselves) deliberately designed it to be.

  42. Ikonoclast
    December 8th, 2012 at 08:47 | #42

    I should have said a strong, positive, social-democratic state.

  43. Ikonoclast
    December 8th, 2012 at 08:49 | #43

    I mean at the end of para 2. I am not using the term “strong, positive, social-democratic state” to decribe the USA.

  44. Jim Rose
    December 8th, 2012 at 09:20 | #44

    Katz, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mitt_Romney_dog_incident with a photo of Seamus who spent 12 long hours on top of the car in a windshield-equipped carrier. Seamus had a bout of diarrhea.

    At least he did not put the dog on a motor bike or, my god, on the back of a pick-up truck. That would have won the blue-dog democrat vote, and won the election for him.

    I have seen cats strapped onto motor bikes in special carriers on cats101 on the animal planet channel. It was portrayed as really cool!

    You have bought into the “idiots’ parade of meaningless stories that came to define the campaign”

  45. Katz
    December 8th, 2012 at 10:30 | #45

    Nope JR.

    I’m just enjoying a spell of grave dancing.

    I’m amazed by the outraged earnestness of the purse-lipped right over this trivial issue.

    It’s almost as if they feel they have something to hide!

  46. Katz
    December 8th, 2012 at 10:39 | #46

    Oh, and thanks for the Wiki ref JR. I read there this:

    During the 2012 U.S. Republican presidential primaries, candidate Newt Gingrich aired an anti-Romney attack ad that featured the story.[15][16][17] While appearing on the ABC show This Week, Republican candidate Rick Santorum stated, “As far as Seamus the dog … the issues of character are important in this election. We need to look at all those issues and make a determination as to whether that’s the kind of person [Romney] you want to be president of the United States.

    I note that figures of the Right were the first to take note of the Romney dog-strapping atrocity. I don’t know whether Newt ever retracted his dog torture attack ad. However, I note that Santorum, no doubt after much earnest soul-searching, decided that the immortal part of his being would not be smirched by appearing on the ticket of a dog strapper.

    Tolerance and understanding won a rare victory. Good for him!

  47. December 8th, 2012 at 20:58 | #47

    Rather a sign of a vapid media when someone carrying their dog on the roof of the car (in such a fashion) even rated two lines, never mind became a national beat-up.

    Katz is bang on with the amusement at the grave dancing. The left & the pro-Obama media took it up with gusto, only to drop it quicksmart when it was pointed out that the great doofus had committed the far more electorally unwise act of eating dog.

    The real amusement was in watching the confusion of a few of the talking heads who missed the sudden message that “dog-gate” was more damaging to “the one” and was to be dropped.

    Some things never change, and the intellectual vapidity of left wing supporters provides no end of mirth for sane people.

  48. December 8th, 2012 at 23:34 | #48

    “SATP is an unschooled, ossified, right wing reactionary. As such he is ineducable and unsalvgeable. We might as well not waste our comments.”

    Gee Ikonoklast, I thought you could do better than that.

    You’re a class act.

  49. MG42
    December 9th, 2012 at 10:28 | #49

    True Ikon. It’s both amusing and hair-tearingly frustrating to watch them weasel their way out of anything that doesn’t conform to their ideological straitjacket.

    “Obama is a failure!”

    “Let’s see. He makes a lot of money, is a multimillionaire, has a responsible job, is a successful family man, has two smart kids, is very well educated, and he is a bestselling author. He achieved all of that by middle age and started with nothing.”

    “Obama is a failure, and a commie too!”

    There is literally nowhere else to go at this point. The Lone Ranter rides off into the sunset full of smugness how he beat that no-good mean commie internet debater. Mr Mean Internet Debater realises his opponent contributed nothing more than “ga ga, goo goo” and lets it go.

  50. Graeme Bird
    December 9th, 2012 at 19:33 | #50

    “Let’s totally demolish that so those glibertarians can leave the cult and lead normal, productive lives. The Crown is ultimate owner of the lands through (at the time) legitimate means of conquest. In glib speak, they have ultimate property rights, and all of the cute philosophical arguments they sprout regarding ownership and might and property fully apply to that body. The Constitution lays down the rights and responsibilities of citizens and the various levels of government……”

    Right but your philosophy is held up only by its own bootstrings. Its a barely varnished version of the theory that might makes right.

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