Re: Innocent excursions in analysis and speculation

Eric Watt Forste (
Sat, 27 Sep 1997 15:58:50 -0700

One of the problems with political discussions is that they can
hardly become specific without also becoming parochial. It's
hard enough to keep an eye on the machinations of one
government, much less the whole lot of them. So I apologize
for the parochialism of my reply. writes:
(quoting Bertrand Russell)
> "The expense of children aught to be borne wholly by the community.
> Their food and clothing and education aught to be provided, not
> only to the very poor as a matter of charity, but to all classes
> as a matter of public interest.

Support of children by the state means control of the children by
the state. "No strings attached" money has a very short halflife
in political reality. Control of the children by the state is a
bit too Ingsoc for my taste, thank you. I think if children are to
be controlled by anyone, it should be by the people who have to
put up with them on a day-to-day basis, not a bunch of politicians.

(I should probably show my bias: several friends and relatives
of mine have had to endure parts of their childhood under
state-sponsored foster care. The reports they bring back to me
of their experiences are horrifying. As far as I know, state
orphanages don't have a much better reputation.)

(more Bertie)
> In addition to this, a woman who
> is capable of earning money, and who abandons wage-earning for
> motherhood, aught to receive from the State as nearly as possible
> what she would have received if she had not had children.

This is not yet the case with AFDC (Aid to Families with Dependent
Children) and related welfare programs in the United States. I
don't pretend to be able to analyze such a complex system of
incentives, but this is a sore point with the people who virulently
oppose AFDC and related programs in the United States.

So if you tried to implement this part of Russell's plan, most
of your opposition would be from the sort of politician
currently labeled "liberal" in the US.

But this part of the proposal is ludicrous, because it requires
a state agency capable of accurately guessing whether or not a
woman is capable of earning money, instead of just taking her
word for it, and this is impossible. The only right thing to
do here is to take the woman's word for it, which throws the
system open to exploitation by deceitful people. I can't think
of any way around this, other than something like Ingsoc, which
is hardly minimal socialism.

(more Bertie)
> The only condition attached to State maintenance of mother and
> child should be that both parents are physically and mentally
> sound in all ways likely to affect the children."

Huh? Sounds like state-sponsored eugenics to me.

(back to WesBurt)
> The mode of society that provides minimum government, maximum
> individual freedom, and security for all is not located on the
> political spectrum line between anarchy and communism. It is
> located on the perpendicular bi-sector of that line, equi-distant
> from both of those fallacies.

Sounds like Nolan's chart, okay.

> Lets hear some clever dialog from the faint-hearted lurkers on the
> several mail lists listed on Burt's list.

Let's have a little respect for the other participants in the
lists to which you are blind-carbon-copying your posts.
Crossposting more than occasionally is itself questionable;
crossposting to a number of lists with the Bcc: field could be
seen as rude.

Eric Watt Forste ++ ++ expectation foils perception -pcd