PHIL: The (im)moral state

Arjen Kamphuis (
Tue, 24 Mar 1998 16:37:31 +0100 (CET)

At 14:28 22-03-98 -0500 Michael Lorrey <> you wrote:
>This might not be so bad if the
>government did not deny the same benefits to me in the event that I found
>myself in dire financial straights, however, I have tried this in the past
>when I was unemployed and the government always found a loophole to deny
>any benefits to me, a single, white, straight, sober, able-bodied male
>with no dependents.

I'm sorry to hear that the US governement still has not outgrown
distributing support on the basis of race, family-status,
chemical-addictions or sexual orentation. This is a _US_ problem however,
don't use this as an argument against governemental systems elsewhere that
don't suffer from these faults.

>Currently the government only does this if the state Governor asks the
>President to declare a disaster area. If you are not in a declared area,
>then the government system doesn't owe you anything, which stinks.

More _US_ policy problems, not a general case. I suggest you get yourself a
decent gov before you start bashing Europeans ones of which you apparently
know very little.

>If you think that the government is responsible for protecting your
>personal security, you are severely misinformed. Police are only there
>to catch the bad guy AFTER he has robbed, raped or killed you, not to
>prevent it from happening.

No offence but I think I'm better informed about _Dutch_ law-enforcement
policies than you are. Prevention of crime (and thus, effectively,
protection of citizens) is just as important as 'catching the bad guys',
and resources are allocated accordingly (IMHO a good thing, prevention is
better for the would-be victims and more cost-effective).

(concerning the dike-enhancement plan)
>I don't imagine that the Dutch Government was the contractor that did
>the work, was it?

Actually it was, some of the equipment was so expensive and specialized,
custom designed for the project, that no company would consider investing
in it (and by expensive I mean you you should think 'Apollo project'). Of
course commercial contractors were also brought in but a governement
ministery ran the whole thing.

>Since most of your country is in a flood plain (partly
>man-made), it is obvious that your country is essentially what is known
>as a "planned community".

I don't think the Netherlands was planned in any way when it became
independant from Spain in the 17th century. A bunch of people simply filled
a power-vacuum, and tried to establish some sort of democracy (emphasizing
'some sort'). From there it just developed slowly to what it is now. If you
mean by 'planned community' that there's a lot of complex legislature then
you're right. We have to plan with 15M people living on a piece of land not
250 by 350 Km's and still being the worlds #4 in agricultural exports.

>Its a rather large one, granted, such that it
>has attained sovereign status as an independent nation, but it, at its
>heart, is a planned community, much like smaller 'gated communities' that
>are springing up all over the US here.

Based on my limited knowledge about American 'gated communities' this
comparison is bogus and rather insulting too. The right to live in Holland
is not determined by productivity, there's no price tag for acces. All
citizens, no matter how unproductive, lazy or drug-addicted enjoy the
security of a basic income and medical facilities and such. In Holland
people are _free_ to _choose_ whether or not they want to become productive
(that's freedom! ;-). I think this is precisely the opposite from what a
gated community stands for.

>Conversely, hardly anyone on earth has the ability to choose what country
>to be a citizen of, and those who would prefer to not support the
>unproductive elements of society have no developed nation to which to
>emigrate to.

Yes, it is interesting to see that there is a such a strong correlation to
countries that try to prevent their citizens from starving (even the
'unproductive' ones) and countries that we consider 'developed'.

What do you suggest we do with all the 'unproductive' people? Let them starve?
You could be unproductive a few seconds from now, it only takes a broken
bloodvessel in the brain to reduce a single, white, able-bodied male to a
very crippled and very unproductive individual. I wish you a long and
healthy life of course, but do not fool yourself into believing it could
not happen to you. Then what? Do you have a big family that will take care
of you (or do they refuse to support 'unproductive individuals')
And what about the growing percentage of the population that is becoming
redundant by automation? We do not need strong AI to automate a
considerable part of the economy, the proces is happening right now.

And later:
>I am using NH as an example of a state which is as close to a
>libertarian optimum as one can currently find in the industrialized world,
>and how all stats indicating a 'livable' environment seem to be far above
>that in any other industrialized polity I am aware of.

Point taken, having never visited NH so I'll take your word for it. My
original point (several posts ago ;-) was that the existance of
'big-governement' does not necessarily lead to economic collapse or even
reduced growth.

Michael Lorrey:
> >Other nations that have followed suit now enjoy stronger economies
> >than their stagnant socialist neighbors.

To which I replied:
>We have been over this before but maybe it did not register or something,
>the above sentence is abosulute and total B.S. (tough but that's what it
>European countries with the most extensive welfare systems like Germany and
>the Netherlands are the strongest economies on the continent. And their
>currency's are a hell of a lot more stable than the US $.

That was my point, if you want to state that welfare-systens are always bad
for an economy, prove it. But make sure you got your facts straight.

Michael Lorrey:
>Various socialist sympathizers here have expressed disbeleif that such a
>system could result in anything but chaos, as they have no faith in the
>ability of the common man to desire to live peacefully.

In stating my belief that the absence of a state leads to chaos I was
refecting on my experiences in several countries were a power-vacuum left
by a crumbling governement was quickly filled by drunks driving pick-ups
and shooting anythying that moves. I was talking about a situation were the
state is absent, not downsized, as you yourself seem to consider a 'good
idea'. I wonder what would happen to the US if the federal governement
ceased existing overnight (I'd watch from a safe distance though - remember


Arjen Kamphuis | "Here Be Dragons", read the ancient maps | in all the white spots that seemed large
enough to hold the fabled creatures.

let's go dragon hunting.

Transcedo, the Dutch Transhumanist site: