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Strange political dichotomy in the First World
in Politics

By MayCaesarMayCaesar 3245 Pts
Something strange went on in the First World with regards to evolution of political movements in the early XX century. I will preclude my argument by pointing out that the post is going to be pretty long, but it offers a pretty detailed review of two different political dichotomies taking place in various parts of the world and contains some interesting information some people might not be aware of. Reading this, you might get an insight into where I am coming from with my political views and why I do not see, for example, any of the major political parties in the US to be worthy of anyone's vote.

Former USSR and other former authoritarian nations

I was born in USSR, shortly before its spectacular collapse. Decades of failing central-planning policies, in combination with rapid aging and abolishment of any notions of meritocracy in the ruling class, culminated in a staggering economical meltdown sending ripples throughout the world and emptying shelves in the Soviet socialist stores. After several years of endless demonstrations and a failed coup staged by KGB in attempt to stop the desperate liberalisation reforms by Gorbachev, the system finally fell apart, and many territories split from Russia and became independent. 

Disappointed with the extremely poor performance of a central-planned socialist economy, most post-Soviet countries immediately embraced liberal democracy and free markets, looking up primarily to the US and worshipping the individualistic system here. Everyone who could afford it moved here or to other Western developed countries, and everyone else wanted to build a similar system back home.

Unfortunately, for various reasons (corruption, mafia and lack of proper demolition of Soviet authoritarian institutions) the liberal sentiment was short-lived, and by the beginning of 2000-s only Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia were still embracing the goal to build a US-like system, while all other countries went back to authoritarianism. However, the sentiment did not die out completely there, and opposition groups in many of the post-Soviet republics kept fighting for liberalisation, however hard it was.

Approximately half of my life I lived in Russia, and its political landscape formed in early 2000-s is a pretty good representation of the general political make-up of post-Soviet republics. Here is what it looked like:

  • Group 1: Liberals/Progressives
Various opposition forces, barely represented in the government, generally promoting wide social freedoms and free market capitalism. On the West such groups are usually called "Libertarian", but in Russia we just called them "Liberal", as they promote individual liberties above everything else. We also sometimes called them "Progressives", given how they wanted to distance Russia from the Soviet past, although this term is considered a bit more loaded.
Currently they have no representation in the government.
  • Group 2: Authoritarians/Conservatives
These are the political forces dominating the government. They promote various values centered around collectivist values and restricted social and economical freedoms. Note that "Authoritarians" is what they are called by the liberal opposition, and "Conservatives", while rarely explicitly used term, is how they are seen by the rest of the population.
As the numbers of these folks are much greater, their makeup is more nuanced, and I would split them into three major subgroups:
  • Subgroup 2.1: Socialists/Communists
These guys do not need introduction. I will mention, however, that Russian socialists/communists have relatively little in common with the Western ones, and while they still promote central planning economy, shared means of production or even property in general, "worker rights" and other things, they do not embrace the social equalisation Western ones do; they largely want restoration of the Soviet system, with all of its explicit totalitarian traits.
They have quite significant representation in the government, as the second largest party in Russia (Communist Party of Russian Federation) is also the second largest party in the parliament.
  • Subgroup 2.2: Nationalists/Fascists
These ones focus their ideologies around the ideas of white supremacy and Russian national superiority. These are far more sinister than something like KKK in the US or AfD in Germany; they have some extreme proposals, sometimes advocating for purges/enslavement of various national minorities. Their economical policies are all over the place, but the general sentiment is that the market must work in a way that advantages ethnic Russians and disadvantages everyone else. They also believe in the need for a strong dictatorial leader.
They do not have a direct representation in the government and, actually, generally are quite opposed to it (read up on one of its leaders, Limonov, who was harshly persecuted by the ruling regime and spent a lot of time in jail) - however, a lot of congressmen have connections with them, and the third largest parliamentary party, ironically called "Liberal-Democratic Party", features a narrative quite sympathetic to their cause.
  • Subgroup 2.3: Moderates/National-Socialists
(They are not actually called "National-Socialists" in the mainstream discussions, but that is what they are, pretty much, by definition.) These are the people trying to maintain a stance somewhere in between the previous two subgroups: they acknowledge the idea of Russian superiority and are willing to take some steps to discriminate against other groups, but do not go extremely far with it, and economically they favor something akin to Hitler's system, with severely restricted market run by state-controlled corporations, but nonetheless featuring some basic enterpreneurial freedoms and private property notions. Note that this is not the same type of system as what can be found in the mainland China; it is a highly protectionist and isolationist system with a lot of central planning and highly encouraged corruption and cronyism.
They have a lot of representation in the government, especially the ruling party "United Russia" and the dictator, Vladimir Putin.

Now, I do not want to spend too much time talking about Russia. The reason I wrote all this is because a very similar makeup can be found in many other currently or formerly authoritarian/totalitarian countries. In China opposition is mainly represented by free market liberal democrats, while the ruling party has two extremes (Maoists on one end - subgroup 2.1 - and radical Chinese nationalists - subgroup 2.2) and mostly is composed of the moderates embracing both ideas to a large extent (Jinping is one of such moderates, leaning towards subgroup 2.1 arguably). On Cuba the dissident movement also embraces the US-like system (you can see this notion being strong in Florida, where the Cuban immigrant population is very large - just talk to random Latin-looking people on the streets of Miami, and you will hear libertarian ideas again and again), while the ruling party is trying to find the middle ground between the two extremes (hardcore Castro/Che fans - subgroup 2.1 - and Cuban exceptionalists - subgroup 2.2), with Raul Castro introducing some careful liberalisation reforms.

I could go on and on. Something that all these cases have in common is that the response of the dissident movements to high suppression of freedoms is the desire for individual liberalisation reforms in all regards, social and economical alike. What on the West is often called "Libertarianism" arises from people's desire to be free from the governmental oppression, and that oppression is seen as both social and economical; the notion that the government should control either social or economical aspects of people's lives in order to achieve some "collective good" is seen by dissidents in authoritarian regimes as dangerous and illogical, especially given their current experiences. All of this makes perfect sense to me, and me growing up in authoritarian Belarus and Russia certainly heavily contributed to me becoming a libertarian.

Western world and other First World nations

When I still lived in Russia, I genuinely believed that the above makeup is universal; that it must be, to a great extent, be present everywhere. There are freedom lovers, people who want to be free from the governmental and communal oppression, and then there are authoritarians of various kinds, typically either wanting to oppress people through class struggle (socialism/communism) or through nationalist isolationism (nationalism/fascism). Obviously I was aware of other types of authoritarianism as well, for example, Islamic fundamentalism - but those mostly exist in barbaric tyrannies of the East and are not applicable to the more civilised world. Or so I thought.
I did not pay too much attention to the intricacies of the domestic political processes in the developed world, thinking that the notion of freedom has long won there and people are now only debating some fine details of how to assure individual freedoms. I genuinely thought, for example, that Democrats and Republicans in the US differ only on very narrow subjects such as whether assault rifles should be sold without a license requirement or with one.

When I moved here in the US and learned a bit about the major political groups here, I was stunned. I was shocked to discover that some of the things that even dissidents in Russia or China do not really question any more here, in the free world, still are actively debated - and, moreover, the debate is often over which of multiple authoritarian proposals to choose! For example, when it comes to women's rights, Democrats want to "expand" them by making it easier for women to receive child support from men, something that never made sense to me and was slightly akin to slavery - but, on the other hand, Republicans want to either restrict abortions or to let men have a say in the matter, which also resembles slavery, just in a different way. Where are the actual liberal proposals: "Just leave people be and take the government out of this" - ?

In general, it turns out that in the First world the political make-up is quite different from what I expected. It is split into the "Left" and the "Right" camp, and both of these camps are authoritarian in different ways. The "Left" resembles the subgroup 2.1 mentioned above, but takes a much softer stance on the social freedoms, still embracing the identity politics there, but overall permitting people to make a lot of choices that in the authoritarian world are unimaginable. The "Right" is closer to the subgroup 2.3, also with a softer stance on social freedoms and slightly softer stance on economical freedoms, but with a strange admixture of traditional religious values. Both "Left" and "Right" have horrible authoritarian stances on some issues (the "Left" is harder on economy, and the "Right" is harder on social issues, but both have authoritarian stances in both aspects).

I was disappointed by extremely tiny representation of classical liberal or, what people call today, "libertarian" political forces. In the US the Libertarian party is barely on the radar and seems to be run by a bunch of incompetent amateurs, and in the rest of the world Libertarian parties are not even on the horizon. Where are the Founding Fathers of our time?

In the last few years this took an even more sinister turn. Now both "Left" and "Right" worldwide are embracing identity politics of different sorts, endorsing censorship in the name of not "offending" someone, electing populist candidates with no substance in the message (I am looking at you, Sanders and Trump), questioning free trade and immigration... It starts looking really-really dicey. I am starting to wonder whether what I escaped from is making a comeback, and not in some impoverished Third World nation, but nowhere else than the free world.
What worries me the most is not even the views people from both major political camps promote, but the amount of contradictions between them. They somehow manage to merge the abstract notions of some freedoms and equality with absolutely horrid authoritarian proposals that obviously are going to lead to the opposite outcome. This ability of large groups of people to collectively hold such inconsistent world views is where the true danger lays: when people stop logically processing their views, then anything can be sold to them. It does not matter what people believe now; what matters is that they can, in principle, believe anything tomorrow - and that "anything" is unlikely to have anything to do with the values of individual freedom that made the developed world such an amazing place to be in the first place.

Am I saying that the political forces here are as bad as in Russia? No, not even close. What I am saying, however, is that they are much worse than one would expect them to be given the history of the free world, and, more importantly, that their messages are incoherent and inconsistent, hopping all over the place. All these achievements, this high quality of life, these freedoms that people take for granted - they might vanish one day, and nobody will even notice that something has changed. When people do not have any solid values to speak of and just swear the allegiance to one of the two political groups, conforming with their messages without truly processing them, then how can they know when something has started going wrong in the society?

What are the causes?

I honestly do not know the answer. It is clear that something changed significantly in the early XX century. Before that the liberal sentiment in the free world was strong, and most of the opposition to it consisted of various traditionalists, monarchists, etc. - conservatives in general, who were afraid of how fast the world was changing and wanted to slow down some or revert the trend. The Enlightenment doctrine stating that the truth can only be found by individual free search and open discussion started consuming itself, resulting in various aberrational ideologies stating that the truth has already been determined and questioning it is not allowed.

My leading hypothesis is that rapid industrialisation created a perception in the global society of rapidly growing inequality (which is not far away from the truth, but does not show the whole picture), coupled with massive replacement of old manual jobs with high skill-based jobs, leaving millions feeling lost in the chaos by the late XIX century. This is when massive populist demonstrations started happening all over the world, with new collectivist ideologies such as socialism/communism and proto-fascism, as well as old ones making a return such as nationalism and religious fundamentalism. The rulers, trying to contain these processes, but failing at it, resulting in countless diplomatic incidents, eventually broke into the First World War, and it has been going downhill from there.

Soviet Russia, Nazi Germany or Imperial Japan were the most obvious victims of these processes, but one would be naive to think that they only concerned totalitarian regimes and left the free world alone. In the US on this wave people like Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Roosevelt pushed through extreme economical regulations that had been unimaginable just a few decades ago and that would have the Founding Fathers rise up from the graves to begin a new Revolution, if they were able to do so. In Europe, after a wave of totalitarian revolutions and subsequent collapses, a new type of "social-democratic" governments arose that, while preserving the general democratic system, enacted harsh economical controls, culminating in the controversial European Union formation, which, while streamlining trade and immigration, in the end created a unified central-planned economical model - something Soviet dissident Bukovsky had warned about back when he was still spending time in Soviet prisons.

These processes seemed to slow down some in 90-s, when the communist camp fell down and the dominance of free market capitalism and liberal democracy was widely considered to have been historically proven. On this wave some spectacular achievements were made. The "Asian Tigers", traditionally impoverished totalitarian caste-based societies, exploded with trade and innovations induced by rapid liberalisation reforms, and even some totalitarian countries such as China that weakened their grip on the economies and the societies enjoyed historically unprecedented economical growth.
However, it took less than one generation for the world to forget that lesson, and already in late 2000-s ugly statism was coming back in full force worldwide. Putin in Russia or Jinping in China are the most obvious examples, but W Bush in the US or Brown in the UK should not be forgotten either.

One might wonder why these processes have not been reversed, given that the industrialisation essentially has been completed and today the technological evolution is much more tamable, with anyone in the developed world being able to make a pretty decent living by putting in a relatively little effort. I do not know the answer, but I would make two observations: first, government expansion is known to be a runaway effect, hard to stop once it has been initiated and fuelling itself; second, just as our quality of life rapidly grows, so do our expectations from life, and, in fact, there is research suggesting that the growth of our expectations outweighs the growth of our quality of life, hence, ironically, over time the population becomes more and more dissatisfied with life and demands more and more radical solutions to this problem.

Possible implication

Something interesting I have thought of is the idea of long-term contrarian historical cycles. Think about it this way: the notions of freedom are so strong among the dissidents in authoritarian countries, because all they have known is authoritarianism. Never having tasted freedom, they appreciate the value of it more than anyone else.
What happens when in such a country the authoritarian regime crumbles, the dissidents' narrative takes traction and somehow sticks (something that did not happen in Russia, but, for example, happened in Estonia)? It is quite likely that this nation will go very far in its liberalisation reforms, at least for as long as the vigour is still there. It is possible that eventually the level of freedom in this nation will surpass that of the traditional liberty giants. That is, plainly speaking, Estonia may one day become more free than the US (one could argue that it already is politically, albeit they have some serious social tensions there that might not be resolved any time soon).

On the other hand, in nations in which widespread freedoms have been around for a long time people eventually start taking those freedoms for granted. At best they see them as currency to be traded for security or other comforting things, and at worst they see it as irrelevant.
In such nations, given the lack of meaningful opposition, the government will gradually expand and take over more and more areas of people's lives - and people in turn will change more and more towards supporting and further accelerating this motion.
Eventually such nations, in turn, may become authoritarian!

So there could be these cycles happening, where newly free nations often will liberalise to a very strong degree and exist in that regime for a very long time, after which the freedom will be gradually lost, until the nation is authoritarian again and needs liberalisation once more.
The evidence of these process occurring is somewhat controversial, but we, at least, see smaller cycles happening, where periods of tightening of the laws in order to stabilise the system give way to periods of red tape cutting and governmental shrinkage, and vice versa. It is no stretch to imagine that similar processes, but of a much larger magnitude, happen on a much larger scale.

There is a popular saying by Hopf:
“Hard times create strong men. Strong men create good times. Good times create weak men. And, weak men create hard times.”
While historically demonstrated to, strictly speaking, be incorrect, it may provide a decent and relatable analogy to this cycle hypothesis. As people become complacent with something, that something takes over and grows, creating a runaway effect forcing people to think outside the box trying to find a way to contain it - which creates a runaway effect in the opposite direction, and so on.

It is not all darkness

My narrative may sound very pessimistic, and, in a way, it is pessimistic. Hence many might be surprised that overall I actually believe that the world is rapidly becoming a very amazing place to live in. What humanity has achieved over the last two centuries is truly astonishing: we almost completely have solved the problem of extreme poverty worldwide, we have nearly eradicated racism and extreme nationalism in the developed world, we have built a global communication and trade network allowing people from most corners of Earth to benefit each other's lives almost immediately...

In the developed world even the poorest members of the population have access to the goods and services that a century ago nobody could even conceive of. In the US, for example, the average number of cars per household is nearly 2, and those cars are absolutely amazing, allowing anyone to travel from any point of the North American continent to any other point in less than a week of casual driving. We have so much food that far more people die to overeating than to malnutrition, and one of the biggest problems grocery stores have to deal with is what to do with all the unsold and expired food.
Where in the past only a privileged tiny minority could enjoy virtually endless supply of food, personal vehicle and a house, nowadays the majority of people in the developed world can afford it without a second thought. 
We have racial, national and ethnic mixing everywhere, with people caring less and less about where you are from and what you look like, and more and more about what you can bring on the table as an individual and/or a specialist.

In the developing world, in a way, even more wonderful things happened. In China the average citizen has become 10 times richer over the last 30 years, for the first time in history lifting this country out of extreme poverty and launching it into an economical giant that is projected to soon rival the US economy. Even in the poorest countries in the world technology from the developed world finds its way in, the borders are being slowly erased, people travel back and forth for business, studies or tourism.
There is virtually no place on Earth where life today is not extremely good compared to what it was like 50 years ago (excluding obviously a few war-torn nations). For that matter, the borders between the First and traditionally the Third World are also start being erased, with people establishing various economical, social and political connections and even moving back and forth permanently.

Life is getting better and better, and if we somehow managed to keep our standards on the same level as 50 years ago, today most of us would be mentally living in pure heaven.

This does not mean, however, that there are no areas for improvement, or that some worrying trends are not occurring that could, in principle, eventually undermine all these achievements and bring us to some sort of dystopian society. I doubt it will happen, but the presence of these trends means that moving forward is going to be harder than it should be. By all accounts we, at this point, should have no serious problems anywhere on the planet and all enjoy carefree lives, and that simply is not happening (albeit we are gradually closing in on it).

Takeaway 

In any case, it was not my goal to make this into a rant post, although somehow the amount of ranting in my posts tends to grow exponentially with size of those posts. 

My main point here was to illustrate how inconsistent the positions of the "Left" and "Right" as seen on the Western political landscape are, how disappointing the lack of significant presence of unconditional freedom advocates, classical liberals or "libertarians", on the West is, and how this is likely not just an accident, but a result of a failure of the global society to properly respond to some trends happening throughout the XIX and XX centuries.

Politics on the West is not how many freedom fighters in the authoritarian world see it; it is far from the free paradise where all the fundamentals have been agreed on and people only debate some narrow and fairly irrelevant issues. People are still struggling with basics, incrementally so, it would seem. The idea many dissidents in other countries have that the American Revolution and the European Enlightenment have concluded the liberty vs security debate is deeply wrong, and it is hard for me to believe now that just ~7 years ago I genuinely held such a naive view.
It is still an inspiration, of course: at least here (for now, at any rate) we can discuss very sensitive issues openly. Political debates here are not just for show, and people from different parts of the political spectrum genuinely clash ideologically - it is not that puppet show that takes place in dictatorships, where all the questions and answers are prepared in advance and sensitive issues are left out. This is something to look up for; living here, it is easy to forget that the vast majority of nations do not have that.




Any comments or criticisms are welcome. For the people with whom I regularly have deep discussions here and who questioned my voluntarist/anarcho-capitalist views in the past, perhaps reading this post will give you an insight of where I am coming from and what background and type of thinking led me to this mindset. I by no means try to pretend that my views are somehow superior to anyone's, not even to the people who I described negatively in this post. I do think, however, that, unlike some people, I have thought out my views very well and subjected them to a very harsh scrutiny. My stances are by no means idealistic, and have been shaped in countless debates, including with myself, mental experimentation, Socratic method application and so on and so on.

My views are not static, and I change my stances on certain issues every now and then - however, my love for freedom is eternal and unquestionable. Freedom that goes far beyond just the social and economical political aspects, but penetrates all aspects of my life, from everyday interaction with others to the way I talk to myself, cultivate positive habits or strive for achieving various goals. I do not think that you can be truly free if your mind is not free, and freeing your mind from the prison of your past experiences and resulting preconceptions is arguably the hardest quest you can take on in life.

I respect people who have a different stance on this, but for me personally, if anything is, this is the axiom everything else is derived from. If personal freedom is not important, then nothing is and we all might as well be robots doing our programming and never worrying about a thing.
theloHappy_KillbotАндрейГудинNopepiloteerJosh_Drake



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  • @MayCaesar That was an awesome post and a very in depth read, and I would say that it was very informative and I agree with all of it, with the exception of one single phrase:

    One might wonder why these processes have not been reversed, given that the industrialisation essentially has been completed and today the technological evolution is much more tamable, with anyone in the developed world being able to make a pretty decent living by putting in a relatively little effort.
    With this statement, I wholly disagree and on more than one level and in more than one way, and I think I can make a solid argument that this is the piece of the puzzle you are missing.

    On the surface, I completely disagree that industrialization is complete and it is tamable. It is only just beginning, and if you need evidence of this just look at the last 20 years of technological progress. I can distinctly remember a time when having a Nokia brick was a luxury, now everyone has a pocket computer with access to all human knowledge (which we use to send cat pictures) This kind of rapid societal change carries baggage (more on this latter) Right now we are poised for another revolution in AI, which will completely eliminate many of the high skill jobs and have who knows what kinds of fallout, and shortly after that a biotech revolution, and not long after that a nano-tech revolution. These three technologies are each independently a bigger deal for our society than the atomic bomb, something that I think a lot of people don't fully grasp, if we are even able to. There is a lot of sci-fi out there that uses any one of these technologies as an apocalyptic late-filter, and I don't think these are completely unwarranted concerns. Our modern technology and near-future technology is anything but tamable and anything but predictable already, and that trend is not going to slow down any time soon.

    I also somewhat disagree that anyone in the developed world can make a decent living with relatively little effort, because there are still tons of homeless people, some of whom for no fault of their own have simply fallen on hard times, and others still who for personal reasons simply chose not to engage with society. You talk about the meritocracy of capitalism, and I completely agree, however to think it is all just a game of who can do the best and who takes the most responsibility cuts out the negative part of the picture. To illustrate this, assume there are two people, person A is a slightly better businessman than person B, and they have competing businesses. In standard free market theory, we would expect person A to make a larger profit, so from an economic Darwinian perspective he should do better. However the real world is often messy, so it is possible that due to bad luck (i.e. natural disaster, sickness, disease) that person A could be left in the dust. What this means is that as a whole, society doesn't get to benefit from person A's superior business skill. This creates a strong incentive for everyone else to support business person A, and this would be handled through collective means. This is the theory behind many social democracies nowadays such as the Nordic countries, where instead of hedging all profits, we only hedge all loss. The end result is that everyone suffers as a whole, but succeeds as individuals.

    Going a little deeper, there are other problems which you touch on, but I think that you understate the importance and relevance of them in our society. It might be tempting to suggest that people have changed over time, however the evidence is not in support of this. Rather, humans are operating on the same hardware that we used 12,000 years ago at the dawn of civilization. Therefore we can conclude that our psychological reaction to societal changes must be due to something else. I believe that technological progress is to blame, seeing as it tends to precede political thought and changes in society. You can trace this all the way back to the stone age with little effort. The advent of agriculture led nomadic tribes to form cities, the industrial revolution led to our formal systems of capitalism, socialism, and communism, and more recently the internet has allowed elections to be heavily influenced to the point that people's opinions are more or less made a commodity. The point of this being that technology is the real fuel of social progress, not ideology or political stance. These things come in response to technological change.

    Now the part I suspect you will disagree with. We have talked in the past about how I see some societies and political systems as being objectively superior, not because of subjective opinion, but rather because the way the society is run leads that society to prosper where others might fail. For example, if an anarcho-primitivist society existed alongside a fascist authoritarian dictatorship, the fascists would simply devour the anarcho-primitivists, thus fascism is objectively better than anarcho-primitivism. Similarly we have seen that capitalism has beat socialism and communism.

    Thus we can conclude that because some societies do better, we can assume that there is going to be a theoretical social system which maximizes a societies potential. What this is is beyond me, however I think we can make broad assumptions. For example, a society which embraces technology is going to be objectively better than one that does not in the short run, however one that over embraces technology may become unstable due to the social changes brought about by technology. However, a system which can sustain high degrees of technological progress without compromising it's social integrity and thus avoiding revolution is going to have a definite competitive edge. I believe this is a major factor in the reason why there has been such an authoritarian draw globally. China is of course a prime example of this, because they are more technocratic in nature and tend to have structured their government around this principal. China takes technology and technological progress seriously, which is why they are already outpacing the US. Being authoritarian in nature allows them to sustain much more technological progress in the short term because they ensure that this technology isn't being used in a way that isn't aligned with the interests of the communist party. For example, their internet is heavily censored, their banks are all centralized and government controlled, and they have recently shocked the world by showing that they will have 5G networks in all major cities years ahead of the rest of the world.

    There is of course another thing that is important to mention, and that is how technological progress happens in the first place. In the US (and most of the developed world), it would seem to us that corporations drive development and innovation, but this is not entirely true. While companies make significant contributions, the overwhelming majority of these technologies are first developed by military interests, and this is a trend that goes back to ancient times. The famous example is the smart phone. Many people credit figures like Steve Jobs with the innovation, but the reality is that he did almost none of it. The microchips were developed for missile guidance, GPS was for military tracking and navigation, the internet was formed from military communication networks, and the camera was made for spy satellites. Later all of these technologies get used for civilian purposes. This is important in the context of a more libertarian or minarchist society, because without the government spending huge amounts on military research, the motivation to take the risk in developing these technologies is going to be much slower, simply because less funds are going to be in the hands of individuals to invest in science and research. This isn't to say that these technologies can not be developed, just that the development is going to be much slower than an authoritarian state with centralized research might develop. Thus, by and large an authoritarian state which can maintain or limit it's social change is going to do better, not as a result of being a more desirable social system, but simply because of the dynamics involved in society.

    Alright, so there is my rant to your rant, this wasn't supposed to be this long but I just had to keep adding to it.
    MayCaesarpiloteer
    At some point in the distant past, the universe went through a phase of cosmic inflation, Stars formed, planets coalesced, and on at least one of them life took root and developed into the human race, who conquered fire, built societies and developed technology .
    All of that so we can argue about nothing.
  • MayCaesarMayCaesar 3245 Pts
    @Happy_Killbot

    All very strong and thought-inducing points! I will try to respond to everything, but I will premise my responses with the notion that, although I do not agree with everything you said, all the arguments are built on a solid foundation I can get behind.

    With regards to my claim that the process of industrialisation is essentially over, I did not imply that the technological progress has hit a plateau beyond which little difference in our lives is going to be caused by further technological evolution. However, there has been one qualitative difference that the industrlialisation process of the last two centuries made in the world: skill-less or low-skill careers have been almost completely replaced by skill-demanding careers. While you still can make a living working, say, as a cashier at a grocery store, the numbers of such jobs in the developed world dwindle over time, and the vast majority of jobs require some skills and experience. For example, to be able to work as a truck driver, in practice you have to demonstrate a lot of experience in driving a car (and learning to drive a car, in turn, takes time), go through a long and expensive EDL training, and nowadays also get familiar with a lot of involved technology in order to comply with all the standards.
    That is, it is now expected that, in order to make a good living for yourself and your family, you have to invest quite a bit of time into obtaining some skills and experience. In turn, with those skills and experience you can secure a very comfortable life for yourself and your family, while also bringing a lot of profit to your employer. The world where the vast majority of people struggled to just put the food on the table is mostly gone, and most people now have much higher expectations from life.
    One could naively expect that, once we get to the point where our survival needs are met and far surpassed, the social tensions would be relieved and people would just enjoy their relatively carefree lives. Yet, according to countless surveys, people nowadays experience more stress than ever before in the history of such surveys. This makes a lot of sense when you take into account the "lifestyle inflation" effect stating that, as people become richer, they start spending proportionally more resources, as well as effort to keep their riches - and that results in the problem only growing, rather than disappearing.

    It is true that luck is still a factor, and it is also true that *some* people in the developed world live in pretty sorry conditions nowadays - however, the fraction of such people from the total population is negligible. For example, 200 years ago more than half Americans lived in extreme poverty (I do not remember the exact estimates), while nowadays most estimates place the rate at around 0.1%. Statistically, unless a given person either becomes legendarily unlucky, or makes some grave mistake or a serious of smaller significant mistakes, they are going to be fine.
    For that matter, making mistakes is, first, a very valuable experience in the individual's life, and second, an essential part of the collective experience, allowing the society to learn from its mistakes. Hedging loss is dangerous, because it erodes the self-regulating economical and social mechanisms. Societies with extreme loss-hedging, such as actually the Soviet one, tend to eventually lose all touch with reality, unable to tell success from failure, great decisions from mistakes, match of expectations or subpar outcome - and at that point the system starts rapidly falling apart, as the society does not know where to even begin fixing the countless systematic self-perpetuating issues.
    It is possible that some security of this kind is healthy: indeed, someone making one mistake ruining their life permanently would be both a waste of their life, and a loss of opportunity for the society to benefit from their unique insight, knowledge and skills. On the other hand, there is also a price to pay for this. You cannot hedge people's losses without simultaneously taking away people's gains, which reduces the incentive to take risks and innovate, given that the potential benefit from those risks and innovations decreases. If you have an interesting, but risky, idea, then you will be much less inclined to invest $100,000 in it, expecting a possible gain of $10m, than if the projected gain instead is $50m - and even if you know that your loss will be somewhat covered by the society, you still are playing with far larger gains than losses. Of course, when, if your idea fails, you expect your entire life to be ruined, then you are not going to be likely to make the investment either - however, I do not think that the right way to guarantee anything is to sacrifice other people's freedoms and take away their property and put it into some collective chest.
    The market already provides a solution: you find an investor and convince them that the idea is good, offering them a share of the profit. This way everything is completely voluntary, as the risks on your part are mitigated by the investors covering the losses; the market hedges losses just fine.

    It is possible that technology induces differences in people's behaviors, but the outcome is the same: the way people behave, the way they look at the world, the way they interact with each other is changing. Old untamed tribalism is playing less and less role in the world, and more and more inter-group interaction is occurring. This is something to celebrate.

    I see your point about the societal and systematic superiority - however, it assumes that winning competition in raising some subjective metric is what determines a societal success. This is not necessarily the case: for example, China is investing heavily in technology, but at the same time it tramples on people's rights, increasingly so in the recent times. It is possible that at some point the dissonance between what people want and what the government does will undermine the system and it will collapse, setting China back decades. So, while at some given point China may appear to be more successful in terms of its global influence than the US, it does not have to last forever.
    In addition, even if one society becomes outcompeted by another society, the temporal boons of living in the former society may be worth it. If there is a hypothetical society in which everyone is happy, but which will collapse in 500 years, consumed by another society, then does it really mean that the former society is objectively "worse"? Perhaps these 500 years were more than worth the subsequent loss of competition.
    Long-term trends are important, but they are not everything.
    I am somewhat sceptical of the arguments some people make in this regard. I read an interesting article, for example, in which the author claimed that China will eventually outcompete the democratic world technologically, because in the democratic world the technological progress is bound by the limitations posed by human right protections, while in China such limitations do not exist. While certainly logical, this argument fails to take into account potential drawbacks of such disregard for human rights. I do not think that the simple focus on technological development with all other considerations thrown out the window is the way to eventually secure dominance in the world.
    For China specifically, I would caution against far-fetched predictions. For one, they are actively trying to adapt technology to the needs of the party in order to control  the society more than ever before: you probably have heard of the "social credit" score they are field-testing in multiple provinces, and the surveillance technologies they are developing are truly frightening. Can a society in which everything is observed and controlled truly compete with the world of free enterprise? I do not think so; not in the long run.

    With regards to your last point, consider the other side of the issue: with not as much resources and manpower invested into the military complex, the free market would have more resources and manpower to develop new technology. Granted, the technology developed could be different, or could come in a different order. Maybe we would not have smartphones now, but would 50 years later - but, on the other hand, we would have Facebook not in 2000s, but in 1980s. The idea that the military complex sparks innovations is highly questionable and seems to come back to the hypothesis from 50-s stating that war spars economical growth (a hypothesis that seems to be true on a small timescale, but false on a large one). It is possible that it somehow facilitates a more optimal allocation of resources spent on innovation than a free market does, but I seriously doubt that that is the case.
    piloteerJosh_Drake
  • @MayCaesar
    I suppose what I intended to illustrate with my points about technological progress was that looking at the past, and in particular the changes of the past two centuries, that we can expect more of the same into the future. For example, when automation makes jobs unnecessary, that will have huge impact on the way we do things that will bring with it desired social change as a necessity when the vast majority of people are no longer relying on occupation for income. Truck drivers for instance, and basically the poster child of this automation because they will be gone in about 10 years time or so. I completely agree that just having our basic needs met is far from sufficient to eliminate all social strife and hardship in society, and I think that eventually it will be us, humans, who are forced to change in response to a society that was built to meet our needs but is now limited by our needs. At this point, I think it would be suffice to say that industrialization will be complete.

    When I talk about hedging misfortune, I don't mean mistakes, obviously people need to learn from their mistakes and removing the consequences of those mistakes eliminates the motivation to learn and grow. However, when that misfortune is not meritocratic, that is to say, not the product of the agent or individual that must suffer those consequences, it is counterproductive to hold them accountable. For example, a medical bill that must be paid out of pocket early in someones life can cost then tens of thousand in the long run. So if we take all the money that everyone loses do to no fault of their own, and everyone must pay an equal share of that, it is productive because everyone must suffer as a whole. This doesn't remove the incentive to innovate, because what is gained by each person is still theirs to keep. However if they make risky choices it should not be on the taxpayers to bail them out, rather they should be punished for their incompetence or inefficiency. It is only what is out of their control which should be covered.

    I don't think that you can put a subjective value that will hold true on objective realities in any sense, however It may help to examine the system as a whole when determining which is subjectively better. For example, if you value happiness then there is a way to organize society that could be objectively happier. However, if this society is going to collapse in 500 years and be replaced by on in which everyone is going to be sad for 1,000, then it is hard to justify that, especially if there is one in which everyone is 90% as happy but outpaces the sad one in 500 years and lasts 1,000 years.

    One of my concerns with China is that they will have a sort of immunity to the technological changes that could bring social reform. Particularly this would work in a way that blocks any and all political dissent and of course denial of access to that tech without being properly vetted and showing of allegiance to the communist party. So when we are talking about some future tech, i.e., automation, this means that the communist party will ensure that it is never used to disrupt the flow of work and the relationship between work and income. In practice this means automation of jobs which are no longer essential or which merely augment rather than replace, all else will be banned. In the US, there is no restriction on such advancement, which opens up the possibility of near complete removal of most of the workforce, which offers both a political challenge and a potential for social revolution.

    I find it interesting that you don't think that old school tribalism plays a big role anymore, since it seems to me that is all I come across anymore. People left their religious tribes only to land themselves in political ones, where their political struggle, (which lets be honest is all BS) is their only sense of purpose. In a world where the bottom of Maslow's hierarchy of needs is filled by default, people are moving up and becoming more rabid with each passing day because of it.

    I would love it if the resources we spent on the military were instead used for research, but this is of course the cornerstone of just another failed political ideology (that sort of runs things anyways) technocracy just isn't going to fly in the US where a significant portion of the population openly rejects science, both Democrats and Republicans. Even now when it has a much greater potential for success I just can't see any way that it could ever be accepted by the general population.

    As for the free market from an minarchist sense, I don't think the free market would develop much innovation because companies have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo. Disruptive technologies represent a threat to the powerful individuals who hold the resources to make those decisions so they will most likely elect to either not put resources into anything that doesn't benefit them directly, and if they do they will horde that knowledge because it could give the competition a level playing field, thus any benefit from research will be highly private and that same knowledge will need to be made repeatedly by each private organization, ultimately slowing the progress to a complete halt.

    We already see this with companies in existence today, for example I had a coworker who built their own dryer which worked using a vacuum pump to lower the boiling point of water so that cloths would dry out quickly, and then had a special valve which he made himself that would condense the water vapor so it could drain out. These types of systems would be overall safer, faster, and more energy efficient than conventional dryers, however they will never be on the market because GE holds the patent and has no intention to produce them. Although this is a personal anecdotal example, there are tons of other stories just like this. One way the future might look is that those who hold the rights to a set of information will be the new land barons of the past, simply by renting out the rights to a set of instructions which are then used to manufacture what is needed by independent individuals for energy and resource cost. This is an interesting concept in and of itself, and kind of goes to show how a lot of the political thought of the past two centuries is become obsolete almost as much as the institutions which support them are.
    piloteer
    At some point in the distant past, the universe went through a phase of cosmic inflation, Stars formed, planets coalesced, and on at least one of them life took root and developed into the human race, who conquered fire, built societies and developed technology .
    All of that so we can argue about nothing.
  • DeeDee 1905 Pts
    An interesting topic.

    ****What humanity has achieved over the last two centuries is truly astonishing: 

    we almost completely have solved the problem of extreme poverty worldwide, 

    Solved it in what way? Every second a person dies of hunger

    Right now, more than 1 billion people suffer from hunger. This means that 1 in every 6 people on Earth don't get enough food to live a healthy life. This year 36 million of these people will die of hunger!


    ****we have nearly eradicated racism and extreme nationalism in the developed world

    You really believe that? Nationalist parties are on the rise again in Europe on account of austerity measures and immigration


    ****we have built a global communication and trade network allowing people from most corners of Earth to benefit each other's lives almost immediately...

    But do they in fact do this mostly as in benefit others lives?   Only certain parts of society get any benefits from such 


    ****In the developed world even the poorest members of the population have access to the goods and services that a century ago nobody could even conceive of. 

    The poorest cannot afford such even Americans say high healthcare costs are causing fellow Americans to get sicker from delaying, avoiding, or stopping medical treatment.


    ****In the US, for example, the average number of cars per household is nearly 2, and those cars are absolutely amazing, allowing anyone to travel from any point of the North American continent to any other point in less than a week of casual driving. We have so much food that far more people die to overeating than to malnutrition, and one of the biggest problems grocery stores have to deal with is what to do with all the unsold and expired food.

    Yes no one dies of malnutrition in the US yet with all our brilliant technological advances and leaps in science and other fields we still cannot alleviate world hunger which has being going on unabated from the dawn of time.

    Incidentally 41 million Americans suffer from food poverty 


    ****Where in the past only a privileged tiny minority could enjoy virtually endless supply of food, personal vehicle and a house, nowadays the majority of people in the developed world can afford it without a second thought. 

    Yes the world indeed has made massive advances and things are considerably better for most , most countries in Europe gave citizens the safety net of social welfare which has helped a lot  during this latest crisis , European governments have guaranteed social welfare for all citizens affected by the crisis 

    ****We have racial, national and ethnic mixing everywhere, with people caring less and less about where you are from and what you look like, and more and more about what you can bring on the table as an individual and/or a specialist.

    Yes things have also improved that way and hopefully continue to do so 

  • MayCaesarMayCaesar 3245 Pts

    Absolutely; technological progress occurs in leaps and is also, in a way, exponential, hence it is quite likely that it will bring about a multitude of changes that will force us to not only adapt to those changes, but consciously alter our physiology and psychology on a very fundamental level to fit better into the new world. Eventually we will likely integrate ourselves with our technology more directly; there will be no separation into humans and their property, and there will be some strange diffused hybrid of both.
    However, something fundamental that we have achieved - the ability for the vast majority of the population to have their basic needs satisfied pretty much no matter what we do - will not ever be matched, unless we manage to somehow revert technological progress temporarily. The next change of such a scope would probably achieving complete individual self-sufficiency, and that is, as far as we know, at the very least, centuries away.

    I understand the intention to handle meritocratic and non-meritocratic misfortune differently; humans have a fundamental strive for some degree of "fairness", and when something outside the individual's control seriously damages their life, we feel that something unjust has happened.
    However, it is not clear how practically to build a system which would differentiate between the two types of misfortune. When trying to do this by utilising the governmental resources, we run into the bureaucratic issues: governmental assistance has to, to some degree, dismiss the specifics of the particular individual case and use the same general approach in each case.
    Consider this hypothetical (quite common, too) scenario: someone is an alcohol addict. They have been drinking a lot of alcohol for the last 20 years and, as a result, have developed a vast array of health issues that culminated into some mortal condition. This person comes to the hospital and says, "I cannot afford the treatment." The assigned specialists inspect the individual, confirm the seriousness of the condition, and the taxpayers' money is used to provide the person with an expensive treatment. Is it just? After all, one could say that the individual brought this condition upon himself by drinking recklessly and not caring about their future. And if treating such people at the governmental expense becomes normalised, then the direct risks of drinking too much become relatively small, which incentivises people to drink more recklessly, which, in turn, puts more strain on the taxpayers... Again, this creates a runaway effect that perpetuates itself, destabilising the society more and more and discouraging individuals from taking care of themselves.
    I should note that people sometimes intentionally do something of this kind, in cases of insurance scams. Private insurers take this possibility into consideration when making their pricing decisions, and the government could do that as well - but in this case it is the other people who pay the extra price, not the insurer or the insured, which is a problem.

    For the 500-1000 years matter, one could justify preferring a society that will collapse in 500 years, because, most likely, they will not be around to see it happen. In fact, assuming we do not achieve immortality any time soon, likely neither us, nor our children, nor our grandchildren, nor our grandchildren's children will see it happen. Our distant descendants will, but they are too separated from us for us to really care. One could argue that it is worth building a society that will stand and prosper for 500 years, relegating handling the subsequent catastrophy to further generations.

    When talking about China, I think you are underestimating the corruption factor that necessarily arises - and grows with time - in an overly centralised system of governence. China is not ruled by an impartial and uncorruptable computer; it is run by human beings, not just at the top, but across a huge multi-level bureaucratic system involving millions interconnected individuals. Combine it with the cronyism of the system, where businesses can make deals with the government that will disadvantage commoners, but advantage everyone else... I do not see how China can avoid the automation trends.
    I very-very strongly disagree that automation will eventually eliminate most of the workforce, by the way. The employment rates today are about the same as they have been throughout the last ~6,000 years, despite a whooping degree of automatisation today compared with even 100 years ago. Jobs are always substituted by higher-level ones, not replaced completely. People who today work as cashiers, for example, 100 years from now might work as low-level administrators. There is always something valuable humans can do; the day when this will no longer be the case will be the day when humans become obsolete, and if that ever happens, then unemployment will be the last of our worries anyway.

    It is easy to see, for example, the rising tribalism in the Western politics today as unprecedented - but, as someone coming from the Third World, trust me: the level of civility here is absolutely incredible by the standards of the majority of nations out there. Even Trump, however deranged his language may be, would be considered a gentleman, say, in India.
    But I am not even talking about politics; politics is politics and, at this point, is more of an entertainment in the eyes of most people, it seems. What I am really talking about is how people interact with each other on the day-to-day basis. In my city people smile at each other on the streets, say "Hi" for no reason, initiate random friendly conversations in grocery stores or at traffic lights... For the vast majority of human history even in the most civilised countries such interaction was absolutely unimaginable. People are opening up to each other.
    I see White-Asian or White-Black couples all the time; I see Christians, Muslims and atheists drinking tea at Starbucks together; I see children and elderly hanging out together and casually talking about books. None of this was even conceivable 500 years ago anywhere on this planet. It will only get better from now on.

    Technocracy does not require a popular approval; it only requires some institutions put in place. Obviously a popular approval helps, but it is not like it is a hard necessity. The US is still the leading scientific and technological hub in the world, with no real competitors out there. The scientific progress has always been largely done by a tiny minority, often harshly persecuted one.

    I think you are making a popular mistake when expecting private companies to behave in unethical ways in order to maximise profit. I heard a similar argument from Bret Weinstein recently, who said that the markets necessarily become corrupt, as the competition is won not by ethical market players, but by those players who are willing to throw away all ethical considerations and focus solely on maximising profit.
    This reasoning may seem valid, but it contains an essential error: that focusing on maximising profit necessitates discarding ethical considerations. But a free market is not populated by machines; it is populated by humans, with certain expectations, certain standards, certain biases. In general, when there are two companies offering comparable products, but one company employs highly ethical behaviors and another company has a reputation of being a robot-like profit maximiser, then people will lean towards buying from the former. Discarding ethics and employing authoritarian practices has a cost to it, and that cost tends to be quite a bit larger than many people think.
    The story you described is quite common, but we are not living in a free market society. In the US, just like virtually everywhere else (perhaps except for Singapore, but they have a different set of issues that is not present here), the government has a lot of influence on the market, able to introduce sweeping regulations, issue multibillion subsidies and so on. The obvious problem with this is that large and powerful entities (such as multinational corporations) have a lot of pull with the government, able to trade some of their resources and freedoms in exchange for issue of regulations disadvantaging their competitors - normally it is done by means of rising the market entry barrier, making it hard, if not impossible, for new players to come in and disturb the stagnating market sector.
    Think of the implications of an actual free market, where the government does not interfere with private affairs, perhaps with rare exceptions (antitrust laws are commonly cited as a valid exception; I disagree, but that is off the topic). Where corporations cannot just lobby regulations disadvantaging their competition. I am not saying that there are absolutely no unethical practices they can get away with - but, at the end of the day, they can only go so far in pressuring their competitors, and the most stubborn competitors will be able to stay on the market and threaten their interests.
    Josh_Drake
  • MayCaesarMayCaesar 3245 Pts
    @Dee

    "Extreme poverty" is defined as living on less than $1.9 a day (note that it is adjusted for living costs in a given location). Nowadays approximately 10% people worldwide live in extreme poverty, versus 95% in early 1800-s. Just think about these numbers; 85% of the world population has been lifted out of extreme poverty in just 2 centuries. Nothing even remotely comparable had ever happened before.
    I am not sure what statistics you use with regards to hunger; the statistics I can find state that approximately 800 million people in the world do not have enough food to have a healthy lifestyle, which is not the same as hunger. 12.9% of people in the developing world are undernutrished, which is ~570 million people - and that still is not hunger. "Hunger" is usually associated with severe undernutrition, so it has to be less than that, albeit I do not know how many.
    The claim that "every 2nd person dies of hunger" is simply wrong; statistics I can find claim that around 9 million people die of hunger every year - and considering that the global average life expectancy is 72.5 years, we get the estimate that 650 million of the currently present ~7.7 billion will die of hunger. That is a bit over 8%; not 50%.

    I was talking about extreme nationalism, not nationalism in general. Nationalism in general is also in decline, but it has quite a bit of life left in it yet.

    I struggle to think of a single person on this planet (short of those living in the woods) who do not get any benefits whatsoever from the communication technologies.

    I will not debate the American healthcare with you; it has proven futile in the past. Read the quoted statement carefully; I have never said that the poorest Americans have access to absolutely all available services. But every time anyone goes to a dentist to get a filling here, they are given anaesthetic. Anaesthetic! Most people did not know such a thing existed 100 years ago, as it was an experimental technology. And same goes for any type of medical services.
    With the exception of those people who have never been to a doctor (are there such people in the US at all?), everyone has gotten the pleasure to be serviced in a way that 100 years ago existed only in science fiction.

    What matters is the dynamic. No problem is solved in one day, and there are many systemic issues, both in the developed and developing world, preventing the malnutrition problem from being solving completely. We are getting there, however.

    I am not sure if you really paid attention to the central message of my post, as it talks exactly about what is wrong with those "safety nets" and why I find it unfortunate that all major political groups nowadays are sold on the idea that those nets are for the best. I know your stance and it is what it is; you thinking that your stance is somehow morally superior and, perhaps, even objectively right is what I find problematic. This type of moral absolutism so commonly found nowadays, both on the "Right" and the "Left", could be one of the symptoms of the Enlightenment values eroding. Recall that the central point of Enlightenment was seeking the truth by exploring various sides of issues and finding how they tie up together into a complex system. Going in the other direction - proclaiming something as truth and seeing every disagreement with that "truth" as somehow inherently problematic - is the opposite to seeking the truth; it is seeking justification for what has been proclaimed as truth and ignoring the possibility that it is not actual truth.
    Josh_Drake
  • DeeDee 1905 Pts
    @MayCaesar

    ****"Extreme poverty" is defined as living on less than $1.9 a day (note that it is adjusted for living costs in a given location). Nowadays approximately 10% people worldwide live in extreme poverty, versus 95% in early 1800-s. Just think about these numbers; 85% of the world population has been lifted out of extreme poverty in just 2 centuries. Nothing even remotely comparable had ever happened before.


    That’s true enough , for extreme poverty which is around  1.85 billion people, or 36% of the world's population, lived in extreme poverty. Nearly half the population in developing countries lived on less than $1.25 a day.


    Yet the figures for poverty are still pretty high and will remain so it seems for some time to come 



    ****I am not sure what statistics you use with regards to hunger; the statistics I can find state that approximately 800 million people in the world do not have enough food to have a healthy lifestyle, which is not the same as hunger. 12.9% of people in the developing world are undernutrished, which is ~570 million people - and that still is not hunger. "Hunger" is usually associated with severe undernutrition, so it has to be less than that, albeit I do not know how many.

    The claim that "every 2nd person dies of hunger" is simply wrong; statistics I can find claim that around 9 million people die of hunger every year - and considering that the global average life expectancy is 72.5 years, we get the estimate that 650 million of the currently present ~7.7 billion will die of hunger. That is a bit over 8%; not 50%.


    Yes the figures differ regards sources I got mine from https://www.theworldcounts.com/challenges/people-and-poverty/hunger-and-obesity


    The 36 million figure is wrong it is indeed 9 million 




    ****/I was talking about extreme nationalism, not nationalism in general. Nationalism in general is also in decline, but it has quite a bit of life left in it yet.


    Yes where Italy , Swede; Germany , France and Hungary have seen a considerable rise in such 


    ****I struggle to think of a single person on this planet (short of those living in the woods) who do not get any benefits whatsoever from the communication technologies.


    What benifits exactly do the poorest in third world countries get from such?


    ***I will not debate the American healthcare with you; it has proven futile in the past. 


    Yes it has for me also 


    ****Read the quoted statement carefully; I have never said that the poorest Americans have access to absolutely all available services. 


    You stated “with wise choices one could afford education and healthcare even on minimum wage” Michael Elpers agreed with this assessment and that’s the truly frustrating thing as in I recognise faults in our system,  you refuse to acknowledge any regards healthcare costs or education costs in the U S as you see it as affordable with wise choices 


    ***But every time anyone goes to a dentist to get a filling here, they are given anaesthetic. Anaesthetic! Most people did not know such a thing existed 100 years ago, as it was an experimental technology. And same goes for any type of medical services.

    With the exception of those people who have never been to a doctor (are there such people in the US at all?), everyone has gotten the pleasure to be serviced in a way that 100 years ago existed only in science fiction.


    If they can afford it , many Americans put off having procedures done as they cannot afford it 


    ****What matters is the dynamic. No problem is solved in one day, and there are many systemic issues, both in the developed and developing world, preventing the malnutrition problem from being solving completely. We are getting there, however.


    Are we ? Figures drop for a couple of years and then rise again this is about to be repeated with the latest crisis 


    ****I am not sure if you really paid attention to the central message of my post, as it talks exactly about what is wrong with those "safety nets" and why I find it unfortunate that all major political groups nowadays are sold on the idea that those nets are for the best


    Safety nets are there as a protection and are a basic human right in any country that wishes to be called civilized , basic necessities like food , shelter and medicine are human rights 


    . ****I know your stance and it is what it is; you thinking that your stance is somehow morally superior and, perhaps, even objectively right is what I find problematic. 


    Where have I ever stated that? I point out flaws in the European model many times you refuse to acknowledge such in the U S as you seem to take it as a personal attack which it’s not 


    ****This type of moral absolutism so commonly found nowadays, both on the "Right" and the "Left", could be one of the symptoms of the Enlightenment values eroding. Recall that the central point of Enlightenment was seeking the truth by exploring various sides of issues and finding how they tie up together into a complex system. 


    Everyone is looking for answers , how do we find truth ? What is truth?


    ****Going in the other direction - proclaiming something as truth and seeing every disagreement with that "truth" as somehow inherently problematic - is the opposite to seeking the truth


    No I don’t proclaim what I state is “truth” what I’m in favour of is basic human rights for those that need it . It’s truly frightening how many Americans would deny others who are desperate basic human rights and even scarier is most proclaim a belief in a god every American “Christian” on D I resists minimun wage , universal health care , free education for the needy and anything that one cannot pay for , it’s a truly inhumane way to look at those who need such and that’s what I have a huge problem with 


    ***it is seeking justification for what has been proclaimed as truth and ignoring the possibility that it is not actual truth.


    Who would I seek “ justification “ from? I’m all for basic human rights a sizable amount of  Americans  as in above are totally against and that is a “truth “ you cannot deny yet attempt to defend , the question is why?

  • MayCaesarMayCaesar 3245 Pts
    @Dee

    Temporary rise of nationalism in a few European countries does not negate long-term worldwide trends though. Even China, traditionally an extremely nationalistic country, today is becoming more inter-nationalistic. Obviously the process is not perfectly smooth and encounters bumps every now and then. But think about our conversation at the moment: I do not even know what country you live in, and we still converse like old friends. This is a novel phenomenon.

    Well, for example, I managed to move to the US from Russia thanks to the Internet; without it I have no idea how I would be able to get any information about the university programs in the US I was interested in, to apply to them and to be accepted.
    The Internet is a gateway to the bigger world for the people living in impoverished third-world countries, and it gives them the opportunities they do not have in their home countries. For that matter, it also helps them function better in their home countries, as more and more essential services and socialisation opportunities even in the most war-torn nations become available online.

    "Minimum wage", "universal healthcare", etc. are not rights. "Rights" denote the actions you can take without fearing persecution from the government or other individuals; rights cannot demand that someone does something for you.

    Once again, you state that opposing these entities is somehow wrong and "inhumane". I see the opposite as inhumane: demanding that some people pay for others and penalising them heavily for not doing so.
    Both positions have the right to exist and are valid in their own way. There is nothing inhumane inherently with either position; it all depends on the context, on where the positions is coming from. I hopefully made it clear how my background shaped my views earlier, but I am happy to answer any clarifying questions.
    Josh_Drake
  • DeeDee 1905 Pts
    edited March 22
    @MayCaesar


    *****Temporary rise of nationalism in a few European countries does not negate long-term worldwide trends though. Even China, traditionally an extremely nationalistic country, today is becoming more inter-nationalistic. Obviously the process is not perfectly smooth and encounters bumps every now and then. But think about our conversation at the moment: I do not even know what country you live in, and we still converse like old friends. This is a novel phenomenon.


    How do you know it’s temporary?


    ****Well, for example, I managed to move to the US from Russia thanks to the Internet; without it I have no idea how I would be able to get any information about the university programs in the US I was interested in, to apply to them and to be accepted.

    The Internet is a gateway to the bigger world for the people living in impoverished third-world countries, and it gives them the opportunities they do not have in their home countries. For that matter, it also helps them function better in their home countries, as more and more essential services and socialisation opportunities even in the most war-torn nations become available online.


    That’s fair enough and yes I agree on that thank you for clarifying 


    ****”Minimum wage", "universal healthcare", etc. are not rights. "Rights" denote the actions you can take without fearing persecution from the government or other individuals; rights cannot demand that someone does something for you.

    Yes that’s your opinion on the matter mine differs 


    There are rights to which we are entitled, simply by virtue of our humanity. Human rights exist independent of our culture, religion, race, nationality, or economic status. Only by the free exercise of those rights can we enjoy a life of dignity. 

    From The American Bar Association......

    Among all the rights to which we are entitled, health care may be the most intersectional and crucial. The very frailty of our human lives demands that we protect this right as a public good. Universal health care is crucial to the ability of the most marginalized segments of any population to live lives of dignity. Without our health we—literally—do not live, let alone live with dignity. 

    In the United States, we cannot enjoy the right to health care. Our country has a system designed to deny, not support, the right to health. The United States does not really have a health care system, only a health insurance system. Our government champions human rights around the world, insisting that other countries protect human rights, even imposing sanctions for a failure to do so. Our government is not as robust in protecting rights at home.


    ****Once again, you state that opposing these entities is somehow wrong and "inhumane". I see the opposite as inhumane: demanding that some people pay for others and penalising them heavily for not doing so.

    You’re right I do see that refusing people health care based on their bank balance is inhumane 


    ***Both positions have the right to exist and are valid in their own way. 

    Why should denying one health care because they’re poor be something that’s even entertained 


    ***There is nothing inhumane inherently with either position

    I disagree ,  I could not refuse another what I think is a right to such 


    ***it all depends on the context, on where the positions is coming from. I hopefully made it clear how my background shaped my views earlier, but I am happy to answer any clarifying questions.

    Yes you did and in fairness to you your background shaped your views as did mine shape mine , I do get where you’re coming from and you probably get where I’m coming from and our views are informed by our cultures


  • MayCaesarMayCaesar 3245 Pts
    edited March 22
    @Dee

    It looks temporary to me because its signature is not in any way distinct from previous similar temporary rises of nationalism, such as in early 2000-s or in late 1980-s.

    Human rights are not traditionally determined based on how allegedly virtuous they are, but based on the notion that humans should not behave in a way that heavily infringes on each other's pursuit of self-fulfilment. This means that actions that do not threaten other people's taking of the same actions must be protected from persecution. This does not mean that people should have some guarantees for unconditional help from other individuals.
    One can make an argument that it is humane to help people in need with receiving healthcare, living wage and education, if they cannot secure these boons on their own - and I would agree with it. It does not imply, however, that these boons should - or even can - be provided to them at other people's expense and against their consent.
    Rejecting these entities has nothing to do with not being willing to help others. The argument most people make is completely different. The problem is with the coercive mechanism behind these entities, not with their general goal - which (the goal) is noble indeed, and you would be hard-pressed to find anyone disagreeing with this.

    Absolutely, I think I understand where you are coming from, although I do not know much about your background. I disagree strongly with this position, but it absolutely has right to exist and is founded on a pretty rational reasoning.
    What I expressed unhappiness with in my post is that this is essentially the only position available in the mainstream politics these days. All major parties everywhere in the First World embrace welfare programs and other similar entities. Even the most dedicated to capitalism systems, such as the one in Singapore, still feature heavy funding of various social programs, and there are no major parties questioning it - the question is only about the degree to which these programs should be expanded or shrunk.
    I understand that not everybody thinks like me, and that is perfectly fine - but we did have prominent political groups advocating for removal of most of the coercive mechanisms from our societies in the past. Where did they all go? Why is the best we have in this regard is laughable Libertarian Party in the US, or lone warriors like Rothbard or Friedman that have no political power? I would like to see a bit more political pluralism in this regard; as of now, everything is very one-sided.
    Josh_Drake
  • DeeDee 1905 Pts
    @MayCaesar

    ***It looks temporary to me because its signature is not in any way distinct from previous similar temporary rises of nationalism, such as in early 2000-s or in late 1980-s.


    I don’t think so but hopefully you’re right , it’s actually gaining strength in Europe Italy being a prime example , only time will tell though.


    The rise in Europe had been partly caused by the open gates policy to refugees coming into our countries and sees a rise in divisions and tensions 


    ***Human rights are not traditionally determined based on how allegedly virtuous they are, but based on the notion that humans should not behave in a way that heavily infringes on each other's pursuit of self-fulfilment. 


    Human rights to me are grounded in the social contract as in a fre society raises up and ennobles its citizens 


    ****This means that actions that do not threaten other people's taking of the same actions must be protected from persecution. This does not mean that people should have some guarantees for unconditional help from other individuals.


    Yes but in this cause I’m not calling on the individual but the government to provide basic necessities


    Take this covid  19 crisis every citizen in my country who cannot work has been guaranteed a weflare payment , banks cannot call in house loans or landlords demand rent as 3 month period of grace has been guaranteed on such with no interest payments on such


    I cannot see anyone over here disagreeing with such , yet I guarantee if such was introduced in the U S I bet it would be rabidly attacked as being Socialist claptrap and no doubt a commie plot to ruin the US 


    ****One can make an argument that it is humane to help people in need with receiving healthcare, living wage and education, if they cannot secure these boons on their own - and I would agree with it. It does not imply, however, that these boons should - or even can - be provided to them at other people's expense and against their consent.


    Well the citizens tax dollars would be used to fund such , I’m sure there are things you do not wish your tax dollars to go on but as a free member of your society you go along with this like us all in any society.


    Who or how should these people get basic things without some form of assistance?

    I watched a documentary about the poorest states in the U S Virginia being one and I believe Roosevelt introduced food stamps after seeing the dire poverty and conditions there and still it goes on , field hospitals something normally only seen in war zones are set up yearly to treat people who cannot afford such , this is all done by volunteer doctors , nurses , surgeons for free , that’s what I call humane as in people that actually care for others , is it too much to ask a government to provide for those with nothing?


    ***Rejecting these entities has nothing to do with not being willing to help others. The argument most people make is completely different. The problem is with the coercive mechanism behind these entities, not with their general goal - which (the goal) is noble indeed, and you would be hard-pressed to find anyone disagreeing with this.


    How do you go about achieving the goal? You can not deny that the mainly Christian population of the US  are the ones who so detest such policies which is absurd beyond belief


    I can never comprehend this obsession and paranoia US Christians have with “commies” , “socialists” , “lefties” they see anyone asking for social policies in society to assist those less well of as being “Anti American “ and an enemy of the US , it’s totally irrational 


    ****Absolutely, I think I understand where you are coming from, although I do not know much about your background. I disagree strongly with this position, but it absolutely has right to exist and is founded on a pretty rational reasoning.

    What I expressed unhappiness with in my post is that this is essentially the only position available in the mainstream politics these days. All major parties everywhere in the First World embrace welfare programs and other similar entities. Even the most dedicated to capitalism systems, such as the one in Singapore, still feature heavy funding of various social programs, and there are no major parties questioning it - the question is only about the degree to which these programs should be expanded or shrunk.


    I think in Europe certainly we take social welfare as a given and mostly see it as a good thing which in principle it is as it’s there as a safety net 


    There is more than enough money to cater for these systems , you used the example of progress regards a century ago where most lived in abject poverty welfare prevents that being repeated because one basically has basic need catered for 


    *****I understand that not everybody thinks like me, and that is perfectly fine - but we did have prominent political groups advocating for removal of most of the coercive mechanisms from our societies in the past. Where did they all go? Why is the best we have in this regard is laughable Libertarian Party in the US, or lone warriors like Rothbard or Friedman that have no political power? I would like to see a bit more political pluralism in this regard; as of now, everything is very one-sided.


    I guess those parties possibly died out because societally in Europe anyway welfare had been there for a long time now , I know over here in Europe any party that decided or ran on the principle that welfare should be abandoned would be dead in the water in days 

    Thanks for the exchange it’s been very interesting to get the opposing views on the topic 

  • MayCaesarMayCaesar 3245 Pts
    edited March 23
    @Dee

    Think about it this way though. The refugee crisis in Europe, in combination with the illegal immigrant problem in the US, caused a strong nationalistic backlash around the world, prompting many nationalist-populist leaders to be elected. 
    However, these leaders implement a lot of very unpopular policies, that were more viable on this nationalistic wave, but as the wave subsides, will become less and less widely accepted. Soon it will cause the opposite anti-nationalistic backlash, and we will be back to square one, or beyond it - however, now people will have a lot of illegal immigrants in the US and refugees in Europe living alongside them and see that everything is fine. This will tell them that these problems actually are not as big of a deal as they used to think.
    Social evolution is bumpy, and a lot of mistakes have to be made before people find out that something simply does not work. And replaces of those mistakes likely will occur for as long as humanity exists, but less and less frequently.

    I personally do not really buy the idea of "social contract". As I see it, people form the government that institutes some rules. Those rules do not define what human rights are, they define what human laws are. Human rights are more fundamental than that and do not depend on the particular government policies.
    Just because people in North Korea are executed for criticising their leader does not mean they have no right for free speech. It just means that the government violates their right for free speech.

    You live in a different culture, where people accept some governmental actions that people here generally do not. You have to consider that the government does not exist in a vacuum and is funded by people - or, rather, forces funding out of people. It is not the government guaranteeing something, it is the people being forced to guarantee something. I see it as deeply problematic in itself, for various reasons.
    To each their own, but I do not see why alternative viewpoints should not be politically represented.

    Well, I have always advocated personally for expanded private charity systems. If a lot of people really want to help the poor, well, they can organise a large interstate (or maybe even international) charity fund that will work same way as governmental welfare programs do, but funded on voluntary donations.
    If enough people want to help the poor, then the system will be just as efficient - in fact, more efficient, given lack of such heavy bureaucracy in the private sector as in the public sector - as traditional governmental programs. And if not enough people want to help the poor, then they will be against governmental welfare programs anyway, so nothing really changes here either.
    That is the gist of it.

    I am not speaking for the US Christians, as I am not one, and even if I were, there are too many denominations and interpretations of Christianity for one person to represent many people. For that matter, US Christians rarely oppose all social programs; they mostly oppose more direct handouts or nationalised industries, but they seem to be okay with more traditional social security programs, for example.
    People like me, who oppose virtually all social programs, are actually very rare. The Libertarian Party does declare such opposition in its platform, but the actual politicians running for public office usually make a lot of concessions in order to be electable, so we gain virtually no representation.

    It is not a question of how much money is available; it is the question of whether taking money away from someone by force to help someone else is acceptable. I know that in Europe this question is rarely raised; there are good reasons I moved from Russia to the US, of all places. :)
    Which is another point I want to emphasise: I do not want to see a monolithic world. I want there to be many systems to choose from, with a large diversity of views and cultures. It is okay to have a heavy welfare state like in Norway, but why have only states like this and nothing else? Let there be many different systems, including those featuring no welfare at all, and let everyone choose where to live. Nobody is stuck forever at the chunk of land they were born on.

    Any time; discussions featuring a lot of disagreements are much more interesting than discussions in which there is nothing to, well, discuss!
    Josh_Drake
  • DeeDee 1905 Pts
    @MayCaesar

    ****Think about it this way though. The refugee crisis in Europe, in combination with the illegal immigrant problem in the US, caused a strong nationalistic backlash around the world, prompting many nationalist-populist leaders to be elected. 

    However, these leaders implement a lot of very unpopular policies, that were more viable on this nationalistic wave, but as the wave subsides, will become less and less widely accepted. Soon it will cause the opposite anti-nationalistic backlash, and we will be back to square one, or beyond it - however, now people will have a lot of illegal immigrants in the US and refugees in Europe living alongside them and see that everything is fine. This will tell them that these problems actually are not as big of a deal as they used to think.

    Social evolution is bumpy, and a lot of mistakes have to be made before people find out that something simply does not work. And replaces of those mistakes likely will occur for as long as humanity exists, but less and less frequently.


    The rise of extreme nationalism nearly always comes at times of economic crisis like we are fast approaching word wide now with the devastation the covid 19 has wreaked on the economy with lay offs and job looses happening all over Europe as we speak , refugees and foreigners are always used as convenient excuses for all our woes by those who support extreme nationalism in times like this as people need a target 


    Trump the other day knew exactly what he was doing when he said “the Chinese virus” he’s creating an excuse for the economic woes about to be unleashed on Americans .


    ****I personally do not really buy the idea of "social contract". As I see it, people form the government that institutes some rules. Those rules do not define what human rights are, they define what human laws are. Human rights are more fundamental than that and do not depend on the particular government policies.


    International human rights law lays down obligations of Governments to act in certain ways or to refrain from certain acts, in order to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms of individuals or groups.


    People in breach of these laws normally suffer sanctions etc , etc, how should human rights be decided within nations?


    Where I live we take votes and have referendums to decide such as in abortion etc , etc , how else should we decide?



    ****Just because people in North Korea are executed for criticising their leader does not mean they have no right for free speech. It just means that the government violates their right for free speech.


    Yes I agree 


    ****You live in a different culture, where people accept some governmental actions that people here generally do not. You have to consider that the government does not exist in a vacuum and is funded by people - or, rather, forces funding out of people. 






    ****It is not the government guaranteeing something, it is the people being forced to guarantee something. I see it as deeply problematic in itself, for various reasons.


    I see it as a duty , but I get where you’re coming from



    ****To each their own, but I do not see why alternative viewpoints should not be politically represented.


    Well they certainly can be , but any political part setting up with this as a policy in Europe wouldn’t last a week , their is zero appetite for such views in Europe anyway 


    ***Well, I have always advocated personally for expanded private charity systems. If a lot of people really want to help the poor, well, they can organise a large interstate (or maybe even international) charity fund that will work same way as governmental welfare programs do, but funded on voluntary donations.

    If enough people want to help the poor, then the system will be just as efficient - in fact, more efficient, given lack of such heavy bureaucracy in the private sector as in the public sector - as traditional governmental programs. 


    I don’t know how that would work welfare is paid here weekly and collected at a local post office the system has been in place for years , the system you propose would for America would simply not work if that was the case how come the biggest charities in the world are still barely making a dent in world hunger? 


    I’ve a relation who works for one of the worlds biggest charities and the money the guys on top make is obscene and they spare themselves no luxury , the  majority of food sent to alleviate hunger is taken and used by corrupt governments and mostly resold for profit 


    You leave things like welfare schemes to the ordinary Joe corruption is guaranteed 


    ****And if not enough people want to help the poor, then they will be against governmental welfare programs anyway, so nothing really changes here either.

    That is the gist of it.


    I guarantee enough would be against it in the U S , so what do you do with such people?  What is the solution if welfare is denied and charity is denied?


    Even slaves on plantations were fed and watered well mostly as the boss wanted his money’s worth by a decent days work 


    ****I am not speaking for the US Christians, as I am not one, and even if I were, there are too many denominations and interpretations of Christianity for one person to represent many people. 


    Ok let’s run with that , Republicans in the U S are we could agree majority Christian and many different denominations, I’ve yet to converse with one on any of the many sites I was on that agree with social welfare , Universal healthcare or free education , is my conclusion incorrect?


    ****For that matter, US Christians rarely oppose all social programs; they mostly oppose more direct handouts or nationalised industries, but they seem to be okay with more traditional social security programs


    Ok interesting like what for example? 



    ****People like me, who oppose virtually all social programs, are actually very rare. The Libertarian Party does declare such opposition in its platform, but the actual politicians running for public office usually make a lot of concessions in order to be electable, so we gain virtually no representation.


    Ok 


    ****It is not a question of how much money is available; it is the question of whether taking money away from someone by force to help someone else is acceptable. I know that in Europe this question is rarely raised; there are good reasons I moved from Russia to the US, of all places. 


    But you moved to the US and by living and working there you accept the rules and guidelines laid down that makes one a part of that society , we can never be fully happy with every thing government asks but we live where we do mainly because we are happy to do so 



    ***Which is another point I want to emphasise: I do not want to see a monolithic world. I want there to be many systems to choose from, with a large diversity of views and cultures. It is okay to have a heavy welfare state like in Norway, but why have only states like this and nothing else? Let there be many different systems, including those featuring no welfare at all, and let everyone choose where to live. Nobody is stuck forever at the chunk of land they were born on.


    I totally agree , you don’t like where you live well then do what you will to change it if you can if not your only option is to try and change the system 


    ****Any time; discussions featuring a lot of disagreements are much more interesting than discussions in which there is nothing to, well, discuss!


    I agree again disagreement is what keeps the conversation going and can lead down some very interesting paths 

  • MayCaesarMayCaesar 3245 Pts
    edited March 24
    @Dee

    I do not think the world economy is going to plummet enough to cause rise of extreme nationalism, and, for that matter, extreme nationalism rises when the problems can somehow be attributed to immigrants or foreigners, which is not the case right now. If anything, I see the internationalist sentiment becoming more and more popular, as people all over the world say that we should all work together to withstand the crisis.
    Then, again, political predictions have one interesting property: they almost never turn out to be true. So we shall see.

    Sure, in democratic countries people vote for their representatives that then vote for various laws. But there are limitations to this process posed by the Constitution or other fundamental document, depending on the legal system. Without Constitution, all people have is a moral grey forest where anything goes. Constitution is required to set some basic limitations, such as "The government is not allowed to pass laws infringing on people's freedom of speech", and those limitations are essential to keep the government from becoming tyrannical (they do not work perfectly, but it is better than nothing).
    What happens when the Constitution is incompatible with the international law? Suppose the Constitution states that the government has no right to take people's property against their consent, but the international law states that the government has to provide adequate welfare to the disabled - what happens then, and which of these two superseedes the other?
    For that matter, "international law" is somewhat vague entity. In practice such law is formulated in the code of international organisations individual nations voluntarily enter or do not enter. If the US tomorrow quits the UN and other similar organisations, then, in principle, the international law will not apply to it.

    Helping countries with corrupt governments is always different, because, like you said, the governments just confiscate most of the donations. In Myanmar, during the cyclone in 2008, a lot of humanitarian aid was dropped from helicopters, and it was reported that virtually all of it was taken away by the military and never reached civilians.
    But charity within a developed country with a functional free market does not have that problem. Obviously there is still bureaucracy, still calculation errors, etc., but so is there in the government.

    If all help is denied, well, the person is out of luck. I also do not get everything I want by just asking; this is just how life works.
    The idea that every single individual should be helped at any cost is impractical and dangerous, in my opinion. The goal to help as many people as possible is good, but considering failure to achieve this goal a bad outcome is overly perfectionist.

    Most Christians support the current Social Security program, with the caveat that they want to give people more freedom on when to cash it in and what to use it for. They also tend to be in favor of aiding veterans, for example.
    I cannot possibly know the opinion of every single Christian, but there are certainly ones that advocate for taxpayer-funded healthcare of education. Articles like this can be found on major Christian websites every now and then:
    https://www.christianpost.com/voices/the-christian-case-for-universal-healthcare.html

    Sure, I accepted the rules and guidelines of the US society when I moved here. That does not mean I must like those rules and not want them changed, however. I moved to the place on Earth best suited for me, but it is not a perfect place for me by any stretch of imagination.
    Many people here want the US to be more like Europe, but I do not want that. I want the US to be the US and Europe to be Europe. The US has traditionally been an individualistic country rejecting the notion that the greater good can and should be achieved at the expense of individual freedoms and happiness. It is a good tradition, and I want to see it restored. If I wanted to live in Europe, I would have moved to Europe in the first place.
    The more diversity there is, the more choice there is - as long as it is good diversity. Obviously having countries like Saudi Arabia or North Korea is not desirable, but among good freedom-oriented systems there is a lot variety to be had, in principle.
    Josh_Drake


  • 'I'm not saying that my ideology is superior to everyone despite evidence to the contrary, but we would be living in a place I allegedly don't believe in if we continue on the imaginary path I concocted in my brain.'

    MayCaesar said:
    People like me, who oppose virtually all social programs, are actually very rare. The Libertarian Party does declare such opposition in its platform, but the actual politicians running for public office usually make a lot of concessions in order to be electable, so we gain virtually no representation.
    Funny how you say this considering you praised Singapore's economy while ignoring their lack of LGBT issues. What a principled person you must be.
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