RE: `capitalist' character values

From: Lee Corbin (
Date: Fri Jul 27 2001 - 08:52:45 MDT

Olga writes

> Lee wrote
>> Also, I know that the temptation to sarcasm is
>> strong---especially when one feels outnumbered.
> I'm not certain what you mean by feeling outnumbered.
> Outnumbered because of my politics? Certainly not
> outnumbered when it comes to some other criteria.

I was just projecting. This list has a history of being dominated
by libertarians, and sometimes I've noticed people resorting to
sarcasm not out of a justifiable cleverness, nor to be funny, but
to consisely answer a lot of challenges. Their emotions also show
through. I say this because I was on a socialist dominated list
a few years back, and it was tempting to get pretty sarcastic because
I felt that I didn't have enough time to explain lots of silly

>> In a society of millions, or hundreds of millions, some
>> people's economic worth to others will be vastly more
>> than other's economic worth. Should school teachers be
>> paid more than movie stars? Who is to say? The answer
>> is not [to let] some committee force their decision on
>> others, but [to let] people freely choose with their
>> dollar-votes.
> But which committee decides the worth of those dollar-votes?

Ahem, I'm not getting the idea across. Choosing with
'dollar-votes' is libertarian-speak for free choice
made through purchasing power. Similar to "vote
with their feet" in the case of deciding which is
preferable, East Germany or West Germany.

No committee decides that movie stars are paid more
than teachers; people's individual preferences show
by which group or which individuals are able to
convince others to pay them at some rate.

>> Yes, sometimes the differences are obscene.
> So are you saying, "so what?"

Yes, I'm saying that just because Spielberg
makes fifty million dollars a year, and some
teacher makes twenty thousand, there is no
need for some committee to decide how much
Mr. Spielberg "is really entitled to" and
to transfer (by force, not persuasion) some
portion of his income to teachers.

> I'm only glad the libertarians weren't in
> "charge" during the Civil Rights Movement.
> The differences, obscene as they are now,
> would have been even more so. Where would
> we be now - still living in a segregated
> society?

My guess is that offensive racist behavior would have
mostly faded by now---it was already on its way out
when government decided to use force. Soon, starting
with the most educated people, pre-judging someone
based only on their race would seem stupid in the south,
just as it had already started to seem stupid in the
north. My opinion is that most whites would in that
case still view blacks as underdogs, and thus be willing
to be pretty sympathetic, just as underdogs always a
favorite. But for this change to happen naturally would
take several generations, and revolutionaries are never
content with that. (In 1913 or so, a British ambassador
in Moscow told a revolutionary that the changes desired
would be developing in a few decades at the rate that the
Czarist government was liberalizing. "But we can't wait
decades!", came the retort. As a result, they may have
to wait centuries.)

But we'd be without the arrogance of whites "granting"
them rights, favoring them because they had to (by law),
making it impossible for a black to tell whether he got
an important job on his own merits, or whether it was
merely the result of affirmative action, and so on.

Thomas Sowell documents in excruciating detail the horrible
results of affirmative action: black students that would
have been very competant at a typical UC school (where I
went) got drafted into the very best classes at MIT and
Cal Tech, and got creamed. Then the second tier of
black students was placed, over their heads, in schools
such as mine, and got humiliated again (even though they
studied very hard). And finally, this evil process
denuded the lower colleges of the worthy black students
who should have been attending (but were shuffled into
higher ones), in order to guarantee failure at all levels.
Such things happen when we follow government edicts instead
of evolutionary processes.

> Switching to the utterly mundane, thanks for correcting my
> "obcene" typo, Lee ... I hate it when I do that.

You're very welcome. If I want my posts to be read, then
I want them readable.

>> Not all people think or feel as you do. Why should
>> they be literally forced to yield up their money?
> The point is - "some of my hard-earned money" - not
> "money," period. Shucks, I believe in contributing
> to some "general good." After all, I use "free"
> resources - as I said before, my children went to
> public schools...

Well, I feel charitable on many occasions too. But
it looked like you didn't answer my question. Why
should people who aren't feeling generous at the
moment (or perhaps any other time) be compelled to
support programs that they don't want to? Who knows
better than they how to spend their money? Who knows
what they need it for or want it for?

If the government didn't end up taking half (!) my
money, I would indeed be vastly more charitable. Now,
we think of it as "the government's" responsibility,
and it was a big mistake for it to have ever come to


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