Tuesday, May 25, 2010

My Heated Debate with a Statist

Statist: free market fixes everything always! not into religious dogma thanks. my beliefs don't require faith

Me: What do you believe in then? Politicians who can solve every social problem by signing a law and shooting/imprisoning people who don't comply? Government programs that require taxing you more, printing more money, enslaving your children through debt? Hoping that we can finally get the 'right' guy into office to work for us? Spending more money on programs that already have bloated bureaucracies. And you accuse me of taking my beliefs on faith?!? WTF!

Statist: gross assumption alert. believing in corrupt corporatist & political figures is not the same as believing in the capacity of people in general and society to make good eventually.

Me: I believe in people. I believe in people free to own and trade property. Free to contract, associate and disassociate, to keep the fruits of their labor. It is absurd to think that in order for people to make good we have to elect people to steal from us to spend on things that benefit the 'common good'. If you believe in people doing good then why does your system need to initiate force(taxation) to accomplish its goals????

Statist: i believe in electing ppl to steal from us? where do u get this stuff? when you're done building straw men, and just so u understand, believing that the free market is equivalent to some kind of natural force that always comes good in the end is to not believe in people per se, but in the system. That you'd be unaware of the implications of your own position is amusing

Me: Yes, taxation is robbery and liberty IS the natural position of man. Most of the social problems in the world today are the result of forced collectivization of resources and redistribution of wealth. And I never said free market always comes good in the end but am firmly convinced that it can produce the most humane society. I'm assuming your a social democrat. I was like that before until I realized how naive it is. I suggest you learn and be open minded before making accusations.

Me: Saying that I believe in a system rather than people is a fallacious attempt of evading the issue. I am sure you don't even know what your talking about when you say 'implications of the system'. You probably mean free market exploits the poor, pollutes the environment, produces bad body odor, etc. I heard all of it. Its what statists do when they run out of arguments and that typically happens rather fast. Only a free market libertarian position is logical and complies with reality.

Statist: You have no idea what position I hold since all that I have told u is that the free market most certainly does not solve all, and I'm glad u admitted as much, since it does undermine your earlier assertion of: "The best regulation is through competition". Anti-regulation = faith in the free market to do the right thing. A collection of self serving corporate heads spout this nonsense then the little man laps it up. Get the little man to fight against his best interests! Keep going

Statist: "Only a free market libertarian position is logical and complies with reality" - what if u are deluded? you gave faith in people's adherence to the profit motive eventually working out well for people and the environment. It's faith, since a heavy stack of evidence points to the contrary. It's funny that I should be having this debate with someone who's just seen the god-damn documentary. It's like when Bush goes to Ivy league school and his obstinacy protects his ignorance. Bravo

Me: Ok now you stopped giving arguments. Typical statist, you can't win through logic so they insult people. Did you know that it wasn't the 'proletariat' who first espoused socialism? It was a small group of intellectuals who were ignorant of economics. You better learn some Austrian/free market economics soon, its for your own good. Especially if you live in the US or places like Greece.

Me: "It's faith, since a heavy stack of evidence points to the contrary"

I'm guessing you think of the (current) depression or poverty of third world countries as 'heavy stack of evidence'. Again, you clearly don't know what you are talking about if you think this.

Me: "It's funny that I should be having this debate with someone who's just seen the god-damn documentary"

Seeing the documentary made me realize how hopeless social democracy is. The 'ordinary man' will never be able to control government, only those with political connections(corporations) will. The ordinary man will never get laws administered the way he wants it administered. The government passes a flood of legislation every year that serve the special interests. Socdem is hopeless.

Statist: it made u realise how hopeless representative democracy is. read up about direct democracy and how many of the problems associated with electing dictators every 4 years would disappear

Statist: u need to stop assuming and then attacking an assumption that u yourself made up. Examples of how prioritising profits over people leads to injustice: Sweat shop labourers who get paid 13c an hour to make products sold for hundreds of dollars, wage slavery, massey energy mine where umpteen miners died due to cost saving measures that excluded safety measures, Cost saving measures at BP lead to destruction of natural habitat, Monsanto selling modified crop seeds that self destruct

Statist: Pharmaceutical companies investing R&D resources in profitable but needless avenues such as male hereditary baldness, rather than curing preventable life threatening diseases in Africa. Automotive industry fought the inception of seat belt regulation on the basis that it would eat into their profit margins, Military industrial complex /war for profit, Profit incentive to dump waste product into oceans rather than pay for waste management, ConAgra selling tainted beef (lower cost)

Me: Direct democracy is what the US has in electing the president and what we have here in the Philippines. If there is one thing you learn in high school it is that the crap always rises to the top when it comes to popularity contests. Democracy is a popularity contest. You need good looks, oratory, deception, bribery to get to the top. Just google Barack Obama if you don't believe me.

Me: Sweat shop laborers earn twice what they get paid in local businesses. Miners went into that job VOLUNTARILY and knew the risks. Who are you to deny them that choice by threatening the company with fees leading them to close shop. You think BP wanted oil spill to happen? BP is biggest loser in that issue yet people like you want to pounce on them and make them pay fines in addition to damages and commercial losses. Oil spills happen due to human IMPERFECTION.

Me: Monsanto gets massive amounts of government subsidies and so does big pharma. They take advantage of unfair IP regulation. I applaud automotive industry for fighting against seatbelt regulation. Who are you to force people to wear seatbelt. MICmplex is funded by government and therefore part of government. ConAgra should pay for damages if US government respected property rights. So far you have conflated horrible things to be a byproduct of capitalism....

Me: continuation.. which is why you are against it, and understandably so. But again, you have proven that you do not believe in people, you think people are stupid by not allowing them to make choices. Sweatshop workers, miners VOLUNTARILY made that choice because they think it is better than the alternatives. You think you know better so you deny them that choice, therefore you are the one who doesn't believe in people. Labor groups in Bangladesh already acknowledge that w/o sweatshops...

Me: continuation.. young girls have no choice but become prostitutes. They do it because w/o the money, their family will starve. Americans, especially the middle class, take for granted their prosperity as a given, not knowing their ancestors had to go through that hardship. But now you know, so why do you deny these poor countries the first steps toward prosperity? I assure you there is nothing the state can do to ease this process and make it faster.

Me: REMINDER: I do not support the large corporations presented in the documentary. I am just saying that being against these corporations means you are actually FOR capitalism since they would not have these advantages(gov't franchises, subsidies, land concessions, IP laws) without government blessings. The difference between you and me is that you solve problems by adding a flood of legislation to counter the previous flood of legislation instead of repealing the legislation favoring evil.

Statist: capitalism prioritises the profit margin above people + environment. I wish u could absorb that which has been shown over and over. Sweatshop labourers could lead a more dignified existence with subsistence farming than working for 13c an hour creating things the company sells for hundreds of dollars. It's an imbalance and you don't want to see it. BP wanted to cut costs on safety measures and keep all their oil. They couldn't do both but they tried and now people + environment pay

Statist: i can't believe u tried to justify the corporate fight against seatbelts. u must really wish harm upon people rather than do harm upon your own insidious ideology. U said i don't trust people earlier, nothing could be further from the truth, since I don't trust individuals within corporations who try to externalise the cost of everything they do making the rest of us pick up the tab

Statist: The USA is ideologically a representative democracy, not a direct democracy. Look to dictionary definitions. The reality however is that of corporatism.

Me: "Sweatshop labourers could lead a more dignified existence with subsistence farming". Just like I said, you think you know better than the sweatshop laborer.
"BP wanted to cut costs...and now people + environment pay " BP's oil is their property, they have the right to do what they want with it, and no, BP is biggest loser in the oil spill and you pounce on them just because you can. Sorry, but I get the impression you are one of those rich college students who is ignorant of economics

Me: Your right . America's founders intended it to be a republic but then socialist thought took over the universities and spouted lies about how democracy is the best system. So US now is practically a direct democracy. I only wish you be open minded about free market economics and stop immediately condemning people as exploiters. Do you really think I like to watch sweatshop workers? People aren't as bad as you think they are you know.

Me: The documentary actually tries to be objective. It presents the facts and doesn't try to lean on any side. The question is why did it lead you to the conclusion that corporations = capitalism so therefore capitalism =sucks? I think that's a very important question and I believe it's because you have been indoctrinated in the schools by leftist professors. Try to question authority once in awhile, you might learn something valuable. And I don't mean to offend, I want productive discussion

Statist: lol @ your continued insistence on usa being a direct democracy. lol @ your asking me to google Obama. lol @ endorsing the car industry fight against seat belts, lol @ suggesting the sweatshop worker made a valid choice in choosing to be subjugated when they're often children, lol @ "you have been indoctrinated in the schools by leftist professors" when i studied comp' science @ uni. lol @ suggesting BP's negligence didn't cause the spill. i'm not banging my head on the wall anymore

Me: Given up so early? I actually thought you had more to offer after that previous detailed response you gave. This just confirms my belief that you are an ignorant kid who prefers to point fingers. It is soooo easy to blame people as evil or greedy but hard to actually think rationally and independent of the leftist school system.

Me: Go on BOZ11, keep condemning the people who make available the stuff that you consume everyday. They who produce the gas that run your car, produce food you eat, water you drink, clothes you wear, appliances you use. Go ask the government to tax and regulate them, so that they will go bankrupt. And then YOU try to take their place and produce things. You think your so smart eh? You have the moral right to take their property eh? Well, think again cause your wrong!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Why We Forgive the State

While writing my previous essay about democracy, I thought about the reasons constituents of a democracy are so complacent and yield so much power to the politicians. The American war of independence, for example, started because of taxation. Modern states take far more than the taxes levied back then, yet not so much as a small protest is seen. Corruption, government abuse, lies are a regular feature of the news, yet only those immediately affected and a minority of conscious activists are seen on the streets. Everybody else is relegated to sitting at home, maybe share thoughts of concern, even crying but never putting up an active resistance. This is especially true in the Philippines. Only a few months ago did I read of the government exercise eminent domain in Navotas displacing more than 400 families. In the middle of typhoon Ondoy, President Arroyo was in New York and spending one million pesos in a high class restaurant. Of course there are severe injustices like the Ampatuan massacre with which most of us feel hatred and disgust for. But the fact remains, the majority of us prefer wallowing in grief back at home rather than actively oppose such abuse. Maybe it's because we are accustomed to constant degradation and insult. We prefer to close our eyes to the hurtful truth of our society. This is only part of it. The main reason we forgive state criminality is because we identify ourselves with it. We believe that we can change it and calmly await the next election so we can vote into office the 'right guy'. But this mentality is the most sick and murderous aspect of democracy.

Can We Control the State?

Consider the occurrence of crime. We are told to call the police when a burglar breaks into our house. Do you think this is the most practical thing to do when your house is being plundered? How will calling the police help to stop the expropriation of property? The poor delegate the task of educating children to the government. But to their immense regret when fresh graduates cannot find even entry level jobs. Same applies to health care. Having a Phil health card does not guarantee immediate health services in times of need. Education of children should be the responsibility of parents. Personal safety and health should be the responsibility of the individual. It is to the extent that we relegate our most vital needs to the government are we a more reckless and dependent people.

Business practices are no more different. Regulations to assure the safety of products only serve to add unnecessary costs that will be later transferred to the consumer. There is simply no way government can oversee all business activities. FDA regulations to assure the safety of drugs only keep new drugs out of the market. Bureaucrats, in their fight to keep bad drugs out of the market, have no problem restricting the best from coming in. Solid evidence suggests that FDA regulations kill more people than they save because patients cannot access the drugs that they need. Government mandated ceilings on executive salary in the United States resulted in the distribution of stock options to executives, tying their salary to the short-term value of stocks, creating an appetite for excess risk. An example closer to home is the constitutional restriction of foreigners from owning real estate. Restrictions on land ownership mean restrictions on direct investment by foreigners. This is not the case in neighboring countries and is a major reason why the Philippines has lagged so much in terms of economic performance. I cannot help but cringe when I hear environmentalists oppose foreign investment in Philippine mining, not wanting foreigners to 'exploit' our natural resources. I thought about how much good a foreign funded mining project could do for the nearby community. How many jobs could have been created, how many children could have reconsidered joining the NPA. Unfortunately, the majority cannot picture this, unable to imagine life without government interference.


As hard as it is to accept, government cannot protect you. Regulation sounds good, it gives the impression of safety from profit-seeking business. Yet, regulations are nothing but extra paperwork and fees, extra costs will inevitably hurt the consumer, and stifle competition as start-ups are hurt more than established firms. Regulations are based on the assumption that people are not capable of taking care of themselves and that bureaucrats (who stand to lose nothing if their policies should fail) somehow know better. If there is anything that should be regulated, it is the government. No matter how greedy a business firm is, you still have the choice of not patronizing it. Government does not give you any choice. It takes your money and forces you to buy its product. We should not wonder why government programs are so inefficient and wasteful. But as long as we believe we can control its behavior, we cannot effect genuine change. For democratic government is really lobby rule, only the special interests benefit, those that have political influence. Ordinary people are bamboozled and only stand to lose from this enterprise. The first step in changing the system is to realize that you cannot change it from the inside. This realization stops us from forgiving state criminality. And when we stop forgiving crime, we stop crime.