RE: The World's Fastest Political Quiz

From: Reason (
Date: Sun Aug 05 2001 - 15:17:04 MDT

[snipping headers...then I said]

> I answered "yes" to all of those questions. Does this make me
> idealistic or
> unrealistic? (Or possibly callous).
> I mean, answering any of those questions with anything other
> than yes means
> that you believe there are some aspects of life in which people
> shouldn't be
> allowed to make their own decisions; shouldn't be allowed to
> rise or fall on
> their own merits. How does preventing this lead to a better society?

[Then said]

> Re draft: It's not conceivable to you that a war, if won by a particular
> side, would lead to a better outcome for humanity than if the
> other side won, and that a draft might affect the outcome?

Different issue. This is to do with states, not individuals. As I mention
below, you seem to be valuing states considerably more than the individuals
that make them up. How is this good? Plus which, you assume that the
abstration of the state knows better than the people composing the state.

Freedom of personal choice is important -- if not enough people are
volunteering to fight in a war organised by states, what does that tell you
about the disconnect between those who run the state and those who make up
the state?

> Re free speech: It's not conceivable that public airing of military or
> patented information might be bad for humanity? That it might not
> be in the best interest of humanity to allow unrestrained libel?

No. Secrets always lead to poor products (of all sorts, be that product
government or a pencil). Intellectual property isn't a good thing either.

> Re borders: It's not conceivable that a completely open
> Mexico-U.S. border
> would lead to a mass exodus from Mexico and might just possibly have some
> deleterious effects on one or both countries?

If the border didn't exist in the first place, you wouldn't have this exodus
in waiting because an equilibrium would already have established itself. If
you did take it down: look at the Berlin wall coming down -- good or bad in
the long term for that part of the world? [Although possibly a bad example,
as regulation and government meddling over there makes it even harder to see
cause and effect than in the US].

What are these deleterious effects anyway? And to people, please, not the
abstraction of country.

> Re minimum wage: It's not conceivable that a repeal of the
> minimum wage might
> cause greater poverty and other unwanted effects (such as more
> inter-class
> strife)? Economics is no science. You ought not be so sure you
> know with such
> assuredness the outcome of tweaking the parameters.

Oh dear, oh dear. Thesis: any and all attempts to artificially regulate
transactions lead to an overall poorer society.

Even simpler: repealing the minimum wage allows companies with X dollars to
hire more people and pay individuals at or around minimum wage level what
the market decides that they are worth rather than what a small group of
people who are complete unconnected with the industry think that it is

And the Darwinian view: how does guaranteeing someone a minimum wage provide
that individual any incentive to improve themselves incrementally? If it
takes X effort to rise above the minimum wage (compared to X/10 effort to
improve a sub-minimum wage incrementally), what do you think is going to be
the result of this?

> Re foreign aid: It's not coneivable that foreign aid might be
> better in the
> long run for giver and receiver than its absence and that
> privately funded
> foreign aid just might not be sufficient for this betterment?

What is better for your self-improvement as a person: a) stuffing a dollar
in your pocket in exchange for a promise that you'll improve your life, or
b) mentioning that I like your cooking and will buy a pie for (the going
market rate of) a dollar?

> Isn't it possible that you have allowed laissez faire to become
> the end in
> your mind rather than a means? That you just might be in the grips of an
> ideology?

Not at all. [Although I just went and relooked at Any Rand's definition of
objectivism in a nutshell, and it seems I'm more objectivist than a few
years ago].

I look at the faults in the world today:

1) progress towards immortality and easier lives slowed by regulation
2) personal growth of individuals stunted by regulation removing incentive
to improve
3) freedoms taken away by regulations put in place by people who don't even
understand the issues they regulate
4) personal responsibility belittled and diminished
5) abstractions (countries, organizations) valued more than individuals

and arrive at my own conclusions, thank you. Freedom is the answer: freedom
to fail or succeed on your own merits, to make your own deals, to grow as a
person because you have absolute responsibility over your own life.


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