Re: PHIL: The (im)moral state

Michael Lorrey (
Tue, 24 Mar 1998 14:00:07 -0500

Arjen Kamphuis wrote:

> 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).

And your freedom is confiscated accordingly as well. There are so many people here
in the US because european governments have always considered security paramount
over individual rights. Of course that means that most people left there have a
greater herd tendency than people here.

> (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.

While the Apollo was laujnched by Nasa, it was built by contractors. Of course I'm
not familiar enough with the Dutch gov't to judge in this particular case, but
typically all a govt agency does when it hires a contractor to do a job is figure
out as many ways to make the job as difficult and expensive and convoluted as
possible, as well as giving every other ministry an open season to pile on more

> >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.

Thats certainly freedom for the those who are non-productive, but what about those
who are productive? Making them foot the bill for everyone who wants to be lazy is
slavery in its most abject form. What would happen if everyone decided to by
unproductive? Who would pay the bills then?

> >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'.

Developed nations typically are wealthy enough that there tends to grow a class of
parasites who feed off the productive remainder. It is obvious that a nation that
is not wealthy cannot afford to support such leaches, so they either get jobs or
become'refugees' hoping to become parasites in a wealthier country. As a small
example, when Diane Feinstein (then mayor of San Francisco) expanded aid for
homeless people fourfold, guess what happened? Did the homeless population
suddenly become respectable citizens with disposable income and homes, etc? NO!
What happened was that the homeless from every surrounding city that had less
hospitable social policies toward bums migrated to San Francisco, to the point
that they were camped out in front of City Hall like it was the streets of

> What do you suggest we do with all the 'unproductive' people? Let them starve?

Let them get a clue and become productive. Get jobs. Go to school. Learn

> 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.

People do not become redundant, they merely are able to make more of their time
available for occupations which are not so strenuous, not so monotonous. For
example, the USPS is by and large, still the most un-automated large
postal/shipping company here in the US. UPS and FedEx, by comparison, are not only
automated, but highly networked and computerized. I think that it is not difficult
to connect this fact with the fact that more USPS workers go on homicidal rampages
than any other company, while UPS and Fed Ex employees are among the lowest.

> 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.

Economic collapse: Soviet Union, Poland, E Germany, Romania, Cuba, North Korea,
Indonesia.All of which had large authoritarian, cradle to grave systems. I'll get
back to you on growth rates once I get a chance to research it.

> 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
> is).
> >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 $.

The US doesn't try to control its currency artificially like your countries do. We
have more faith in the market's ability to be stable inherently, within an
acceptable range. We also have a surplus budget (without massive per capita oil
revinues, as the Dutch are so well endowed with, which is mainly the source of
your ability to slouch as much as you wish). and lower unemployment. As to growth,
let me do some research....

> 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
> LA?).

Yes, and LA has one of the highest tax rates and one of the most restrictive gun
control laws in the entire nation. SOme stability. It also has one of the highest
costs of living.