Debate:Liberal beliefs/Tom and Rem

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How about moving Exchange TwentyFour: school choice proposal to some else so that I can post. 20 minutes of try at the bottom = nothing, Carptrash 11:54, 28 September 2008 (EDT)

Yes, how about breaking this up into three or so pieces? Around section 16 or so the page starting failing to render correctly, although I could still edit it. ħumanUser talk:Human 14:17, 28 September 2008 (EDT)
This page appears to be at a natural end, so why not just leave this one as it is and start a new page, titled something like "Debate:School choice free-for-all"?
Perhaps copy the proposal from x24 over to the top of the new page -- everybody could then chime in? I think that would be better than removing the proposal from this page.
-- RemBeau 16:54, 29 September 2008 (EDT)
That sounds good to me. Link to it at the top and bottom of this file? ħumanUser talk:Human 17:16, 29 September 2008 (EDT)
Fine with me -- go for it.
-- RemBeau 17:25, 29 September 2008 (EDT)

Exchange One[edit]

Tom -- You've said a lot i'd like to respond to, so i hope you are still in the game. I doubt there are many Libts (of the non-teen variety) that "favor the elimination of public schools". What most of us favor is some freemarket competition to them, and let parents choose. I don't anticipate that public schools would go out of business, and i expect the competition would improve them.

There would always be some parents, for good reasons, that would divert their taxes to the public schools -- why shouldn't they? My apologies to the Brits for my American terminology (public vs private), i wouldn't want this to be seen as a Yanks-only discussion. Freemarket education would work everywhere. I know there are plenty of objections to school choice as i see it, and i would like to hear them, with a chance to respond.

As to examples of govt bloat, i could propose and you could dispose -- we'd likely not select the same ones, so that route seems fruitless. But since we are on the topic of public schools, there is a good reason why they are so over-priced: employee bloat. They make up the largest chunk of the budget (just ask Human) and yet try dividing that chunk of money by the number of teachers, and the teachers (and you) will wonder why they aren't paid more, much more. One likely answer other than just inefficiency would be the number of non-teaching personnel in public schools -- probably top-heavy. (Human -- NB: if you divide but screw up, i promise not to go tit for tat.)

Here is my approach to reducing govt bloat: set constraints on the amount govt could spend, THEN let Dems and Pubs haggle over where best to spend our money. You could hope they'd not put pork-barrel spending above essential services, but don't count on it. Some of them might put their own interests above the citizenry. (I'm just saying, it could happen.)

Your slogan (fiat justitia ruat coelum) is surely Latin, and i've seen that one before, but all i've figured out so far is that the judge drives a cool Fiat ... i don't have a clue about ruat.

-- RemBeau 08:07, 19 August 2008 (EDT)

Thank you for responding.
There would always be some parents, for good reasons, that would divert their taxes to the public schools -- why shouldn't they?
Please make sure I have this right: in your proposal, any citizen would be able to choose whether or not to pay taxes to public schools? I.e., it would essentially make them voluntary?
But since we are on the topic of public schools
Naturally, if there is "bloat" to the public school system it should be removed. Conservatives, liberals, and apparently libertarians all agree on this and the pejorative "bloat." I'm not certain what is particularly libertarian about this, unfortunately, so it is not helpful in this discussion.
set constraints on the amount govt could spend, THEN let Dems and Pubs haggle over where best to spend our money.
That seems a little short-sighted. I think you will agree if you think about it a bit more. To have a committee of some kind guess how much money will be needed in a fiscal year before the representatives can begin to assess where money is needed is essentially asking for a gross estimate of what the needs of the country might be every year - without even knowing those needs. I would suggest that this would just result in hundreds of special appropriations and no hope of government financial stability.
My motto is (roughly) "let justice be done, though the heavens fall."
Would you mind providing some specifics of libertarian policies beyond the one you have above. Even the one you gave seems unworkable and personal rather than representative of general libertarian policies, actually.--Tom Moorefiat justitia ruat coelum 08:49, 19 August 2008 (EDT)

Exchange Two[edit]

No, that's not right. Where to divert shares of education taxes is the part that should be voluntary -- i don't think i addressed the method of taxation, nor have i suggested that paying those taxes should be voluntary.
But i gotta go; i will respond to your other points when i can.
-- RemBeau 09:09, 19 August 2008 (EDT)
You have said that all those (Cons, Libs, and Libts) agree there is bloat in the school budget, but what they likely WOULDN'T agree on is how to fix the problem. I can't speak for Cons or Libs, but Libts would say let the freemarket do its job. As a Liberal, you might be surprised at the role competiton plays in making enterprises (that includes school systems) more effective and efficient, which also often results in employees (teachers, in this case) being happier at their job.
That means better educated kids AND some tax relief for the community.
There IS "no hope of government financial stability", and it'll get worse if we don't limit them somehow. They are absolutely addicted to spending and power; they go hand in hand. If we can't pressure them to resist spending increases, we should at LEAST limit govt taxes, which would call their bluff as to caring about deficit spending; that should apply some pressure on spending increases.
The major govt players have to work under the restraints of reality at some point, and the reality is, if they don't pull back on spending, their pyramid scheme will collapse. Don't know when, or even how bad it'll be, but it WILL happen.
`` RemBeau 13:11, 19 August 2008 (EDT)
let the freemarket do its job
What does that mean, please? Again, it sounds very nice, but it is not specific. I am trying to get some specific libertatian policies, and "remove bloat in schools by letting the free market do its job" doesn't fit the bill.
There IS "no hope of government financial stability"
I disagree. Contrast the eight past years in America with the eight ones previous to it. Conservative deregulation and over-reliance on the "free market" led to a massive mortgage crisis, worsened by the government's wild instability as it threw good money after bad.
we should at LEAST limit govt taxes
What does that mean, please? Are you reiterating your idea about guessing the total money the government will need for the year before needs are known? If so, please make sure to respond to my earlier criticism first, since it still appears to me to be impossibly short-sighted.
I have to say that this discussion is certainly reinforcing one view of libertarians I have had: they have many vague proposals but no practical solutions. "Solve it with the free market" is an idea, not a plan. Are there any libertarian practical policies?--Tom Moorefiat justitia ruat coelum 18:53, 19 August 2008 (EDT)

Exchange Three[edit]

Your comments make it pretty clear to me that i am going to have to figure out a new way to respond. Part of the problem is that i'm having trouble understanding how you derive the things you say from MY comments. I cannot fathom how you get, from what i'm saying, "Are you reiterating your idea about guessing the total money the government will need for the year before needs are known?"
That idea didn't come from me; i never suggested anything LIKE that idea. In fact, there are two or three assumptions in there that are completely alien to my thought processes.
1) "Guessing" the total money ... i don't understand why anyone would expect to know that ahead of time. As in real life, you know more or less how much income you will have a year ahead of time, but couldn't possibly expect to anticipate all the expenses, right? So you prioritize as you go along -- most important items up front, and the least important may not happen if you can't afford them. If your income continually fails to cover your spending, you are living beyond your means, and you should stop doing that, agreed?
2) Money the govt will "need"? Is it possible you believe that everything the govt spends on is needed? Surely not -- much of what it wants can hardly be considered "needs", even if you took out all the pork-barrel stuff. Just because pols want to spend money on what you want them to doesn't mean they are "needs", correct?
I'm not sure what earlier criticism you wanted me to respond to first. Sorry.
You ask, "What does [let the freemarket do its job] mean, please?" I only expect to be able to limn the answer to that in such a short space as a paragraph or two, but i'll give it a shot.
It's about incentives, incentives based on what motivates people, what works with human nature. The freemarketplace abounds in natural incentives as opposed to threats, coercion, and other alternatives. If as a consumer you have access to a freemarketplace, you will try to pay the least for needed (and wanted) goods and services. Why? Because it is in your self-interest to do so, as it benefits you and your family.
When govt foots the bill, price is no object, you just buy the best. This is always true, and the syndrome is called OPM (Other People's Money). OPM is heavily at work in those that hold the govt purse strings. No need to be frugal or careful with OPM. You DO agree with me on this point, correct?
Okay, that was how a consumer benefits from the FM, now let's consider a producer in such a system. When you own a business, your standard of living rises and falls with the success of that business. Rather than having to meet govt quotas, you need to produce what customers want at prices they are willing to pay for, else they will, in a free society, take their business elsewhere. If they do that, your income (profits) will take a hit. They are not forced to buy, and you are not forced to produce.
Providing it's not govt money that funds your business, you'll be risking your own capital, and if your business fails, you've lost your OWN money. One way provides a powerful incentive to achieve, the other, very little. There are always many in govt that just raid the treasury to fund a business their extended family runs, milks it down to the last penny, and produces nothing. Rarely, very rarely, does any congressman get in trouble with the "Ethics Committee" (George Orwell, take note).
That problem is obviously caused by OPM -- wrong incentive. Natural incentives work; artificial ones just sound good. The sting of a lash is a poor substitute for natural incentives. If you disagree with my points, please stipulate. In such a short space, i couldn't go into much detail, but i'll gladly do it upon a specific request.
-- RemBeau 22:30, 19 August 2008 (EDT)
As in real life, you know more or less how much income you will have a year ahead of time, but couldn't possibly expect to anticipate all the expenses, right?
Except that in "real life," you are the sole arbiter of your own interests, and rightly so. But in a government, it is the legislators who work out what are the "most important" items and what should be cut. And that is the process by which that allocation is made. Your plan seems to require bypassing that process to make a blanket guess as to the needs of the government, without allowing the democratically elected representatives actually figure out those needs. It may seem very obvious to you what is "necessary," but to the government and the people, a $100 billion tax credit may or may not be "necessary." The only way to figure out that necessity is process.
Is it possible you believe that everything the govt spends on is needed? Surely not -- much of what it wants can hardly be considered "needs", even if you took out all the pork-barrel stuff.
Is it really even necessary for me to point out that I used the word "need" in a colloquial manner, not in the highly literal way in which you are interpreting it?
incentives based on what motivates people... No need to be frugal or careful with OPM. You DO agree with me on this point, correct? ... else they will, in a free society, take their business elsewhere
I wasn't actually asking for an explanation of the notion of a free market. I have asked and just asked again for a specific libertarian policy position. This might be "reduced gun control by removing waiting periods and registration for all handguns, rifles, and semi-automatics." I am not sure how many different ways I can ask for a specific libertarian policy, but you keep giving me the vaguest of answers or - bizarrely - a brief explanation of market forces. Not helpful.--Tom Moorefiat justitia ruat coelum 22:57, 19 August 2008 (EDT)
Still waiting for a specific policy, Rem.--Tom Moorefiat justitia ruat coelum 00:03, 22 August 2008 (EDT)

Exchange Four[edit]

Tom -- sorry -- i completely missed your post -- glad you nudged me.
Okay, // a $100 billion tax credit may or may not be "necessary." // but it is a good way to allow taxpayers to keep more of their money, and how can that be bad, given the HUGE govt wealth? It will help the economy, and that is also always a good thing.
// Is it really even necessary for me to point out that I used the word "need" in a colloquial manner, not in the highly literal way in which you are interpreting it? //
Absolutely, because if they aren't actual "needs", then you can't justify collecting all the taxes ahead of time to cover your "wants".
You keep referring to govt "needs", and i keep saying you're looking at it wrong. Govt has plenty of funds to cover actual needs, and they don't have to guess at the rest, the "wants" as opposed to the "needs".
Specific libertarian policy positions
A) Decriminalize drug use.
B) Laws to make it harder for local govts to use Eminent Domain to seize private property.
C) Federal action to prevent Washington DC from not complying with the Supreme Court's ruling that WDC has to stop violating the "right to bear arms" as they have done for the last 32 years.
D) Repeal the act that allows govt to use taxpayer's money to fund candidates.
Maybe this is the kind of thing you are looking for. If not, point out which above answer your question and which don't.
You say my explanation of market forces is not helpful. Is that because you already understand the benefit of market forces, or i'm not going deep enough, or you disagree -- what?
I would write more, but i can't now -- wish i had seen your post earlier.
-- RemBeau 01:14, 22 August 2008 (EDT)
but it is a good way to allow taxpayers to keep more of their money, and how can that be bad, given the HUGE govt wealth? It will help the economy, and that is also always a good thing
My hypothetical tax cut was expressed in the most vague of terms. It is absolutely not always a good thing to cut taxes, nor will it necessarily help the economy. Take the Bush tax cuts, for example, which disproportionately benefited the wealthy. This drastically reduced government income - which could at least theoretically have been used to help people, although I admit Bush probably would not have done so - to little benefit except to those who already had more than sufficient discretionary income.
Absolutely, because if they aren't actual "needs", then you can't justify collecting all the taxes ahead of time to cover your "wants". You keep referring to govt "needs", and i keep saying you're looking at it wrong. Govt has plenty of funds to cover actual needs, and they don't have to guess at the rest, the "wants" as opposed to the "needs".
Very little in the budget is a "need," excepting things like salaries for the most essential employees and upkeep on buildings. And that sort of things is generally not in the "discretionary budget," which is to what we are referring. It may seem like 247m on "nuclear waste disposal" can be dissected into a "need" or a "want," but you're just quibbling over semantics; the notion of "need" or "want" is almost inevitably subjective, and so statements like "Govt has plenty of funds to cover actual needs" expresses nothing beyond your general feeling that the government spends too much. Please feel free to use whatever terms please you (as long as you define them), but don't try to interpret my everyday use of language into being some philosophical statement like "everything the government spends money on is a 'need.'" Neither I nor you think I meant that.
A) Decriminalize drug use.
All drug use for all drugs? I am happy to agree with you on marijuana, but are you also including heroin, cocaine, meth, and so on? Wouldn't the immediate impact of that be a massive loss of health and life in every poor area of the country? Would the FDA ensure purity of the currently illegal drugs the way they do with things like Viagra?
B) Laws to make it harder for local govts to use Eminent Domain to seize private property.
You favor federal intervention on a states' rights matter? Currently those local governments make their own rules for that matter, ranging from making it illegal/impossible to making it only moderately difficult. Your position is a surprise to me, I must admit.
C) Federal action to prevent Washington DC from not complying with the Supreme Court's ruling that WDC has to stop violating the "right to bear arms" as they have done for the last 32 years.
I'm not sure what action you are proposing, but I do agree that the court ruling should be enforced. What specifically did you mean? Do you believe in an unlimited right to bear arms, incidentally?
D) Repeal the act that allows govt to use taxpayer's money to fund candidates.
The name of the act (which you should probably know if you are calling for its repeal) is the "Federal Election Campaign Act." What is wrong with it? I actually like the fact that people like Tom Tancredo and other politicians not backed by massive parties actually get more of a chance to voice their opinions and influence the public discourse.--Tom Moorefiat justitia ruat coelum 04:02, 22 August 2008 (EDT)

Exchange Five[edit]

[unindent] Tom -- Even if i were to accept what you mean by "disproportionately benefiting the wealthy", i'm trying to think how it might not benefit the poor. This issue is a bit complex given how many look at it, so i thought it best to give this issue its page -- the article is titled Essay:Tax cuts. It is still in response to your post, just too much for right here.

//... but don't try to interpret my everyday use of language into being some philosophical statement like "everything the government spends money on is a 'need.'" Neither I nor you think I meant that. //

We're getting into a weird territory here. I'm coming to realize how much differently we think, and i don't know whether it is a language problem, or just you and i, or Liberal versus Libt thought. But it seems to me that, at the very least, some terms don't mean the same thing to both of us.

Guaranteed that i may be wrong in my interpretation of some things you say, but to say i don't really think you mean something ... ??? I do try to err on the side of safety when i suspect i may be misinterpreting something you say, which is why i sometimes ask questions that may seem blindingly obvious. It's the only way i know how to do it.

In any case, we are stuck on the word "need", which i am using in the concrete sense, not a vague sense, since the crux of my argument depends on it. So for me, it is not a quibble -- i assign real importance to it.

// Bush tax cuts, ... drastically reduced government income ... theoretically have been used to help people ... //

1) Probably not actually "drastically reduced government income". Probably barely.

2) "Theoretically" could be used to hinder as opposed to help, and i'm not talking about intent (which would require specualting about motivation), but about actual results. It is a clash of worldviews -- your optimistic govt-half-full versus my pessimistic govt-90%-empty.

On to (A) thru (D) --

A) Yes, i include ALL drugs. Not because i think drugs are harmless (i don't) or because i am a user (i'm not), but for philosophical AND practical reasons (intervention, good -- prosecution, bad). To make suicide illegal is ridiculous, even slow self-destruction. To wage a "drug war" is counter-productive, corrupting, and expensive. To clog courts with druggie cases is silly and wasteful, and to fill jails with them is nuts.

B) Where is it written that states have unlimited rights? Citizens of the USA should not have to suffer from property seizure, especially arbitrary rulings from local govts. You can say that again, with gusto.

C) Not unlimited IF you mean nuclear weapons, things of that kind. But as to what specific action should be taken to ensure that the DC powers that be don't drag their feet while conspiring against citizens and the US Bill of Rights ... i dunno. An honest and ethical lawyer would have to figure that out.

D) The FECA, eh? (Who dropped the L?) What is wrong with it, you ask? Do you think it is okay to forcibly reduce a family's income in order to support candidates they are against? Really and truly? Am i missing some ethical point?

Your namesake (not the Irish poet) would be on my side.

-- RemBeau 11:28, 23 August 2008 (EDT)

Tom -- Even if i were to accept what you mean by "disproportionately benefiting the wealthy", i'm trying to think how it might not benefit the poor. This issue is a bit complex given how many look at it, so i thought it best to give this issue its page -- the article is titled Tax cuts . It is still in response to your post, just too much for right here.
Sure, I'll read it and address it :)
We're getting into a weird territory here. I'm coming to realize how much differently we think, and i don't know whether it is a language problem, or just you and i, or Liberal versus Libt thought. But it seems to me that, at the very least, some terms don't mean the same thing to both of us.
I suppose. Inasmuch as I can see, the chain of events isn't convoluted. I was talking about government spending and referred to the expenses as "need." This is a subjective term and was used in the colloquial sense that encompasses both "wants" and literal "needs." As in "I need a bagel." For reasons unknown to me, you took issue and digressed into chastening me that not everything the government spends money on is a "need." I find it hard to believe you actually thought I was being literal, anymore than you might think I "needed" a bagel if I said so. But I'm just going to drop it, since there isn't any problem of terminology as far as I care.
1) Probably not actually "drastically reduced government income". Probably barely.
A $100 billion tax cut would reduce government income by the amount of $100 billion. To put that in perspective, it is more than the total budgets of the Department of the Interior, the Department of Labor, the Department of Health, the FDA, the CDC, and the entire Justice Department. Or it's about a fifth of the DoD's total budget.
So yeah, it's a bit of a chunk, actually.
2) "Theoretically" could be used to hinder as opposed to help, and i'm not talking about intent (which would require specualting about motivation), but about actual results. It is a clash of worldviews -- your optimistic govt-half-full versus my pessimistic govt-90%-empty.
Absolutely. But it's a question of leadership and reform. $100 billion could, for example, be well-spent on beginning to invest in solar power installations in the southwest. Of course, the free market dictates we keep using coal, since it's so much cheaper. It will take enough of a body count to influence the industrial market before there is a shift otherwise. On the plus side, this will increase the funeral home sector.
A) Yes, i include ALL drugs. Not because i think drugs are harmless (i don't) or because i am a user (i'm not), but for philosophical AND practical reasons (intervention, good -- prosecution, bad). To make suicide illegal is ridiculous, even slow self-destruction. To wage a "drug war" is counter-productive, corrupting, and expensive. To clog courts with druggie cases is silly and wasteful, and to fill jails with them is nuts.
Wouldn't the immediate impact of that be a massive loss of health and life in every poor area of the country? And would the FDA ensure purity of the currently illegal drugs the way they do with things like Viagra?
B) Where is it written that states have unlimited rights? Citizens of the USA should not have to suffer from property seizure, especially arbitrary rulings from local govts. You can say that again, with gusto.
It's not written anywhere, I just thought that libertarians tended to uphold states' rights things in this kind of situation. I don't actually disagree with you here, although considering the fact that three states have already eliminated the practice and there have only been a tiny amount of these cases, it's not a high priority for me. Or any kind of priority, actually.
C) Not unlimited IF you mean nuclear weapons, things of that kind. But as to what specific action should be taken to ensure that the DC powers that be don't drag their feet while conspiring against citizens and the US Bill of Rights ... i dunno. An honest and ethical lawyer would have to figure that out.
If nuclear weapons can be restricted, then why can't fixed-position belt-fed machine guns? And if they can be restricted, then why can't assault rifles? I am curious as to your actual reasoning at where you draw the line. What is the principle you use to determine the exact amount of destructive power a private citizen is allowed to carry in his trunk?
D) The FECA, eh? (Who dropped the L?) What is wrong with it, you ask? Do you think it is okay to forcibly reduce a family's income in order to support candidates they are against? Really and truly? Am i missing some ethical point?
It's not so much an ethical point as that I think you actually don't understand how it works. It's voluntary... when you file your taxes, you are permitted to either check the box to donate $3 of your return to the public financing funds, or not. There's no penalty for not checking the box. And checking it doesn't increase your return, it just designates that amount to go to the funds rather than the government.
Seriously, you should read the things you want to eliminate.
Your namesake (not the Irish poet) would be on my side.
My namesake took people he disagreed with about religion and burnt them at the stake, too. We all have our flaws.--Tom Moorefiat justitia ruat coelum 13:30, 23 August 2008 (EDT)

Exchange Six[edit]

Oh no -- Thomas Moore, who chose death before dishonor by refusing to grant Henry VIII an anullment -- he had heretics burned at the stake? Say it ain't so. I know life was cheap back then, but please tell me you got that from an untrustworthy source.
C) Your question as to where to draw the line is a good one, and i don't know exactly. But i DO know that it would be wrong and ill-advised to criminalize private ownership of small arms. Would you have govt confiscate all privately-owned weapons?
Did you happen to read about the granny that held a burglar at gunpoint until the cops arrived? It makes me proud, proud to be an American when that kind of thing happens.
-- RemBeau 01:04, 24 August 2008 (EDT)
He actually was imprisoned for refusing to take an oath acknowledging Henry as supreme leader of the church, although the reason for that oath was so that Henry could grant himself an annulment. But yes, he had heretics burnt.
Your question as to where to draw the line is a good one, and i don't know exactly. But i DO know that it would be wrong and ill-advised to criminalize private ownership of small arms. Would you have govt confiscate all privately-owned weapons?
No, I wouldn't have that. But I do advocate strict gun control. People should only possess guns they need for reasonable purposes, as a general guideline. Hunting and home defense are two purposes, which is why I think rifles and shotguns are perfectly acceptable, as well as some handguns. However, automatic weapons and above only exist for the purpose of killing people. There is some argument to be made for recreational shooting, but that must be balanced against the welfare of the people as a whole.
So you have no real reason for where you draw the line? So far your rationale works just as well for a fixed Browning as a Glock 17, so I am hard-pressed to see how you make your decision.
I can't help but notice you have failed to respond on several topics and to questions I asked above regarding them. Am I to assume you are ceding the point on drugs and the FECA?--Tom Moorefiat justitia ruat coelum 02:20, 24 August 2008 (EDT)

Exchange Seven[edit]

Ha -- No to your final paragraph, but you MAY assume that time's winged chariot asserts its influence so that i have to limit my responses. I knew when i responded last night that i wouldn't have time to catch everything -- it is just that i wanted you to know that i was aware of your post, and not ignoring it.
C) // So you have no real reason for where you draw the line? //
I DO have a real reason to WANT to draw the line, i just don't know exactly where. (Only Anarchists have all the answers.) As you say, i am hard-pressed to see how to make that decision, on my own, at least. So were i to be the one that would HAVE to draw that line, i would convene a bunch of pro-gun types that are also logical and reasonable, and hash it out with them. But i am ABSOLUTELY clear and adamant that no govt should even attempt to ban all weapons in private hands in the USA, and that Wahington, DC immediately reverse its legislation that thumbs its nose at the Second A.
D) So you are saying that NONE of my taxes help fund major candidates against my will -- if i don't check that box on the tax form? If that be true, i will stand corrected.
A) // Wouldn't the immediate impact of [Rem's drug view] be a massive loss of health and life in every poor area of the country? //
I doubt it. The immediate impact i would expect to see is less cop corruption, fewer false arrests, less seizure of property, fewer temptations for crooked judges, fewer incarcerations leading to less crowded prisons, less violent gang activity which means fewer murders.
There was a time in America when cocaine (and probably other drugs) was not illegal to use -- were we worse off for it? I think not. Obesity i see as a much bigger problem.
// And would the FDA ensure purity of the currently illegal drugs the way they do with things like Viagra? // No opinion.
// A $100 billion tax cut ... // Where did you get that number, and what percentage would the tax cut reduce govt revenue by? Do you consider the curve of tax rates versus tax revenue to be linear?
// Of course, the free market dictates we keep using coal, since it's so much cheaper. // Given increasing gas prices, why would the FM not work to press businesses to try to develop alternative energy sources that would be more economical and cleaner?
// On the plus side, this will increase the funeral home sector. // Making the construction of nuclear power plants politically infeasable for decades DEFINITELY increased the funeral home sector. Bad politics. Let the FM do its job, that is the fastest and most efficient way to discover alternative fuels. You're not -- gulp -- suggesting govt should do the job?
-- RemBeau 23:33, 24 August 2008 (EDT)
Wow, Rem that was an utterly incoherent edit. Seriously, I tried to follow it, but you weren't even ranting, you were just... incoherent. No blood, no foul, as they say. Care to try again? ħumanUser talk:Human 23:46, 24 August 2008 (EDT)
Made sense to me, actually, even if I disagree on most of it. Don't be mean to him, have some sympathy... he came here to pick a fight to defend his beliefs, and now it's just him arguing against a lot of somewhat hostile people. Cut him some slack :P --Tom Moorefiat justitia ruat coelum 01:49, 25 August 2008 (EDT)
I DO have a real reason to WANT to draw the line, i just don't know exactly where. (Only Anarchists have all the answers.)
Speaking just for myself as a liberal, I personally tend not to take a position as outspoken as you on an issue unless I have an answer. I did ask for some libertarian policy positions to represent your specific views, so that we could get at the values behind them. Now I discover that your position on the matter is arbitrary.
As you say, i am hard-pressed to see how to make that decision, on my own, at least. So were i to be the one that would HAVE to draw that line, i would convene a bunch of pro-gun types that are also logical and reasonable, and hash it out with them. But i am ABSOLUTELY clear and adamant that no govt should even attempt to ban all weapons in private hands in the USA, and that Wahington, DC immediately reverse its legislation that thumbs its nose at the Second A.
What do you mean "have to draw the line?" We're discussing your policy positions, so of course you're the one that has to make the decision and advocate a useful principle in the matter.
Further, I again suspect you didn't read that to which you are referring in your argument. The D.C. gun ban didn't ban all private ownership. It banned automatics and handguns and the like. Citizens could still own rifles and shotguns, although they had to keep them unloaded and broken down. It is again a question of degrees, not an outright ban on all guns. So because it is again a question of degree, before you can make bold statements about why it is wrong it would help if you could come up with some reason why it is wrong.
You can't do that yet, and don't feel comfortable making the decision. That's absolutely fine. But in that case, you should probably not represent this as a specific libertarian policy you favor, don't you think?
D) So you are saying that NONE of my taxes help fund major candidates against my will -- if i don't check that box on the tax form? If that be true, i will stand corrected.
You stand corrected, then, because that is the case. I strongly suggest that before you advocate eliminating a law, you read it.
I doubt it. The immediate impact i would expect to see is less cop corruption, fewer false arrests, less seizure of property, fewer temptations for crooked judges, fewer incarcerations leading to less crowded prisons, less violent gang activity which means fewer murders.
Oh, certainly the amount spent on the war on drugs and collateral damage from crime will plummet. I agree with that, and think it would be great. But you don't honestly think that crack and meth, free of any constraints, will fail to kill hundreds of thousands? I'm not sure how you can think that; it and others are murderously addictive and unfailingly destructive to the body. If they became legal and cheap, it does not seem reasonable to think that fewer people would use them. Certainly, eventually the free market would sort it out, and most of those people would die as the rate of death settled into what the market would bear - a monstrous result, in my opinion. But to think that there wouldn't be a wave of chemical death... could you explain yourself?
There was a time in America when cocaine (and probably other drugs) was not illegal to use -- were we worse off for it? I think not. Obesity i see as a much bigger problem.
There was a time when all drugs were legal, and following that laws were implemented on local levels by degrees. I would argue we actually were the worse off for it; opium was brought in in large shipments to pacify the immigrant Chinese who built railroads, as an example.
Obesity is certainly a large problem as well, no pun intended.
No opinion.
That's pretty important.
Where did you get that number, and what percentage would the tax cut reduce govt revenue by? Do you consider the curve of tax rates versus tax revenue to be linear?
It was an arbitrary number. It would cut revenue by something like 4%.
You're misphrasing the curve question, but I believe I understand what you're asking. You're talking about the Laffer curve, yes? I do think it is linear in that sense, and that the curve is essentially accurate.
Given increasing gas prices, why would the FM not work to press businesses to try to develop alternative energy sources that would be more economical and cleaner?
The free market has no incentive to do so. It's cheaper to use coal by a wide margin, we're not going to run out of it within our lifetime or the lifetime of our great-grandchildren, and it can be converted to oil once the price of oil rises high enough. It's by far the most economical choice. Of course, it's also hellaciously damaging to the environment on a thousand different fronts.
'Let the FM do its job, that is the fastest and most efficient way to discover alternative fuels. You're not -- gulp -- suggesting govt should do the job?
I am suggesting that. Massive government investment and incentives are the only way. The free market has no incentive to do so... why would it venture into new and immensely less efficient fuels when it can just use coal?--Tom Moorefiat justitia ruat coelum 01:49, 25 August 2008 (EDT)

Exchange Eight[edit]

[unindent] Tom // I am suggesting that. Massive government investment and incentives are the only way. The free market has no incentive to do so... why would it venture into new and immensely less efficient fuels when it can just use coal?

It seems to me you are thinking of the FM as a monolith. The people that dominate the coal industry may feel no incentive to develop an alternative, but others would, and may be working on it already. But if i were, and i anticipated govt would pick up the tab on my research, i might be tempted to drop it and instead suck at the govt nipple. Much more lucrative that way, and there would be no rush to get the job done, or to do it well.

// You stand corrected, then, because that is the case.

Okay -- i stand corected concerning voluntary public funding of candidates. But if i may, i'd still like to address govt's role in doling out the cash.

Govt gets to decide how much to contribute to candidates and even which candidates will receive it. Yes, those decisions are based upon certain criteria, but that criteria was contived by Congress. I'm sure you're thinking "so what?", but doesn't the conflict of interest worry you just a bit? Don't you think incumbents already have a huge advantage over challengers, and there is the problem that they will conspire to reinforce that advantage? (Which would be a REAL problem if one party gets so much power they can just dictate rules that benefit them.)

Here are the flaws that i see. As a candidate, you can promise to go the public funding route, but when you amass five times as much funding (let's say) as your opponent(s), simply opt out. Meanwhile your opponent is constrained by rules you aren't, and has to deal with the risk of prosecution when trying to level the playing field. (I'm not talking Obama vs McCain,)

The rich already have an advantage, why enhance it? I would remove all funding restrictions. If George Soros wants to fund a candidate, circuitous routes to get around legislation shouldn't be necessary. (George, if you are reading this, why not fund Libts a bit? It would help your image. Start a MoveFree.com maybe.)

// But you don't honestly think that crack and meth, free of any constraints, will fail to kill hundreds of thousands?

Yes i do -- not nearly that number. Wouldn't a short burst of bodies duly noted by the newsies be a big natural deterrent? Especially if those bodies weren't whisked away immediately to keep school kids from seeing them. At the very least, leave them in a body bag until sundown.

Ultimately, with that natural deterence, we'd have many fewer deaths from drugs. "A monstrous result, in my opinion" is what we have NOW.

// Obesity is certainly a large problem as well, no pun intended.

Not bad as a pun, tho. As the problem worsens, do you doubt that statist solutions will be attempted? The Socialist argument (which i've already heard) will go like this: Look, if we provide "free" healthcare funded by the public, we have every right to proscribe unhealthy behavior -- we're paying for it doggonit.

Isn't there some meddling of this sort going on in LA already? Isn't the local gummint considering closing down fastfood joints everywhere near poor neighborhoods? If that came to fruition, would not that paternalism worry you?

Folks get all apoplectic when i say motorcycle helmets ruin the pleasure of a ride on a beautiful day, and govt should have no business in this affair. (This is one reason every Libt wants to move to NH.) This slope is much more than slippery.

// It [$100 billion rax credit] was an arbitrary number. It would cut revenue by something like 4%.

Anywhere near 4% is not what i would call "drastically reduced government income". I suspect we'll always differ on this -- i cannot imagine that a 4% diminishment would require cutting any essential services, and that is what i believe the argument should pivot on.

// You're misphrasing the curve question, but I believe I understand what you're asking. You're talking about the Laffer curve, yes? I do think it is linear in that sense, and that the curve is essentially accurate.

I don't consider "Do you consider the curve of tax rates versus tax revenue to be linear?" to be a misphrase. Does it not read well?

Laffer described the obvious, which was that it is defintely non-linear, but i didn't need him or his curve to make my case or raise the question, nor do i know if he would ask mine, so let's keep him out of it. It is i, not Laffer, that raised the question, so it is i, not he, that you should address. I have to make that point, lest someone starts attacking Laffer as if i were responsible for him.

If it WERE linear, that would mean there is NO tax rate at which revenues would actually decrease. Sorry for asking again, but is that what you believe? (If you're answer is a straight "yes", i shant bother you again on that.)

I'm out of time for now.

-- RemBeau 12:51, 26 August 2008 (EDT)

It seems to me you are thinking of the FM as a monolith. The people that dominate the coal industry may feel no incentive to develop an alternative, but others would, and may be working on it already. But if i were, and i anticipated govt would pick up the tab on my research, i might be tempted to drop it and instead suck at the govt nipple. Much more lucrative that way, and there would be no rush to get the job done, or to do it well.
Of course there are others working on it. In fact, the prices on solar energy (as an example) have been steadily decreasing for many years. And do you know why? Because that "government nipple" has been enabling them to do so. Solar power is inefficient and expensive and has been so since its inception decades ago, and the only reason companies have been able to continue to sell and design solar panels is because some darn liberals decided to help make the technology affordable.
When coal costs about $2.10 per watt for a new plant, and concentrated solar electricity costs about $3.50, what energy company in their right mind is going to voluntarily choose the costlier one? Please tell me, so that I can immediately make sure I don't have any stock with them. Of course the market is not a "monolith," or else they would choose solar. They're individual rational actors, so they choose the short-sighted best choice for them, which is almost without exception the cheapest.
Please, explain to me how you think the market would incline anyone to alternative energy. Then explain to me how your explanation might bear any resemblance to the real world, in which it has taken massive and continual government funding for such a move.
Govt gets to decide how much to contribute to candidates and even which candidates will receive it. Yes, those decisions are based upon certain criteria, but that criteria was contived by Congress. I'm sure you're thinking "so what?", but doesn't the conflict of interest worry you just a bit? Don't you think incumbents already have a huge advantage over challengers, and there is the problem that they will conspire to reinforce that advantage? (Which would be a REAL problem if one party gets so much power they can just dictate rules that benefit them.)
Here are the flaws that i see. As a candidate, you can promise to go the public funding route, but when you amass five times as much funding (let's say) as your opponent(s), simply opt out. Meanwhile your opponent is constrained by rules you aren't, and has to deal with the risk of prosecution when trying to level the playing field. (I'm not talking Obama vs McCain,)
The rich already have an advantage, why enhance it? I would remove all funding restrictions. If George Soros wants to fund a candidate, circuitous routes to get around legislation shouldn't be necessary. (George, if you are reading this, why not fund Libts a bit? It would help your image. Start a MoveFree.com maybe.)
It's hard to even know where to start on this one. Of all problems, I think the least likely one is that the incumbents from different parties will "conspire" to make it harder for challengers. Such a mindset is so foreign it's actually a little funny... the notion of Clinton and Stevens hunkering down to try to work out how to keep out the new kids is downright bizarre. The parties want to get more of their own guys in, always.
I'm not sure exactly about the scenario you spin... you do realize that once you opt to use the program at the start of the general campaign, you can't leave it, right?
I am baffled by your proposal to remove funding restrictions. That would essentially allow any office lower than statewide to be purchased; we might as well just work out a pricing system now and usher in a new cursus honorum of the old Roman Empire. Soros could afford to donate ten million dollars to a local state senator; no rival could match a tenth of that. A wealthy family could almost outright own all of a district's offices.
If you want to worry about things like this, worry about campaign finance and gerrymandering. The latter is a hideously abusive use of power perpetrated aggressively by Republicans during the Reagan years and whenever they've had a chance since. The former is an issue so radioactive that virtually everyone promises to work on it and no one gets any real change made.
Yes i do -- not nearly that number. Wouldn't a short burst of bodies duly noted by the newsies be a big natural deterrent? Especially if those bodies weren't whisked away immediately to keep school kids from seeing them. At the very least, leave them in a body bag until sundown.
Ultimately, with that natural deterence, we'd have many fewer deaths from drugs. "A monstrous result, in my opinion" is what we have NOW.
...
...
"Especially if those bodies weren't whisked away immediately to keep school kids from seeing them."
Don't you think you might be verging on the irrational if you think that a viable plan is a wave of death being displayed to children? I mean, maybe you want to just step back and rethink your keynote "show the kids the corpses" plan.
Do you think smoking crack cocaine is a rational decision? I mean, you seem to think that seeing people die from it will teach children that it's dangerous... do you think there was some mystery about that before? Smoking crack is not a rational thing to do. It's insane and stupid. Poverty and a drug culture lead to desperation and a situation in which the illusory and temporary appeal of drugs is more enthralling than a life that the poor perceive is already lost for them. We need to fight poverty and combat the culture, not throw up our hands, let them die, and show their bodies to children as a lesson.
As the problem worsens, do you doubt that statist solutions will be attempted? The Socialist argument (which i've already heard) will go like this: Look, if we provide "free" healthcare funded by the public, we have every right to proscribe unhealthy behavior -- we're paying for it doggonit.
I have no doubt that all kinds of solutions will be attempted. There are always people who propose disagreeable things... just the other day I was talking with a guy on the internet who wanted to teach children a lesson about drugs by letting the bodies of overdosing addicts hang around for an extra day.
I do think, however, that with universal health-care more emphasis could be placed on prevention rather than crises. It costs enormously less to send someone to a nutritionist than it does to pay for their bypass.
Isn't there some meddling of this sort going on in LA already? Isn't the local gummint considering closing down fastfood joints everywhere near poor neighborhoods? If that came to fruition, would not that paternalism worry you?
Sure, that would bother me a lot. Do you have a reference or any more details other than a vague reference to a possible story occurring somewhere in the entire country?
Anywhere near 4% is not what i would call "drastically reduced government income". I suspect we'll always differ on this -- i cannot imagine that a 4% diminishment would require cutting any essential services, and that is what i believe the argument should pivot on.
I guess you missed where I mentioned that such a sum includes the total budgets for the Department of the Interior, the Department of Labor, the Department of Health, the FDA, the CDC, and the entire Justice Department... all combined. Or a fifth of the DoD budget. I'm sorry it doesn't seem like a lot to you, but the folks at those agencies tend to disagree.
If it WERE linear, that would mean there is NO tax rate at which revenues would actually decrease. Sorry for asking again, but is that what you believe? (If you're answer is a straight "yes", i shant bother you again on that.)
No, of course that is not accurate. As an example, the taxes through much of sub-Saharan Africa are oppressively high and are helping crush many economies there; if they were lower, revenues would increase over the longer term as their economies were allowed to expand and generate more overall activity.--Tom Moorefiat justitia ruat coelum 13:58, 26 August 2008 (EDT)

Exchange Nine[edit]

1 // Do you believe in an unlimited right to bear arms, incidentally?
Not unlimited IF you mean nuclear weapons, things of that kind.
2 // If nuclear weapons can be restricted, then why can't fixed-position belt-fed machine guns? And if they can be restricted, then why can't assault rifles? I am curious as to your actual reasoning at where you draw the line. What is the principle you use to determine the exact amount of destructive power a private citizen is allowed to carry in his trunk?
I DO have a real reason to WANT to draw the line, i just don't know exactly where. (Only Anarchists have all the answers.)
3 // Speaking just for myself as a liberal, I personally tend not to take a position as outspoken as you on an issue unless I have an answer. I did ask for some libertarian policy positions to represent your specific views, so that we could get at the values behind them. Now I discover that your position on the matter is arbitrary.
No -- you haven't, but if that is the way YOU define arbitrariness and insist that you may not argue a topic unless you can draw a clear line, you'd have to throw out a HUGE amount of posts on RW -- d'accord? I don't mind being held to a higher standard, but your standard is impossible in almost all cases.
Admiration -- that is how i feel about the skillful way you have handled this point. You carefully separated yourself from the Liberal horde as one who would not take a position unless YOU have an "answer". You apparently never responded to the Liberal Beliefs poll, an obvious place for me to search in order to come up with one of your responses, not as a Tu Quoque, but as a way to ferret out actual differences between how you justify your positions as opposed to mine. Nicely done, and that will make it harder for me to refute your rebuke, but refute it i must. If i let you get away with it, you could use it repeatedly in the future, regardless of its logic.
You may not see it as i do, but your approach was Argument of the Beard. You ask me to draw a line as to what arms are covered by The Right To Bear Arms, and were i to draw one, you could say, "We'll what about low yeld nuclear weapons?" And when it is discovered that there is some point at which i cannot draw a line, you could imply that defeats my argument that the Second Amendment be honored. Or upbraid me (as you did) for not being able to have an answer ready as to exactly where that line should be drawn.
That dog doesn't hunt. If it did, we could never have rape laws. But we HAVE to have them; the principle is extremely important despite the fact that sometimes drawing the line as to what constitutes rape can be very difficult, and in fact you can be certain that innocent men have been found guilty because of it.
The fact that i, without consulting with others, am unable to draw the weapons line when it comes to keeping and using arms, but believe that nuclear weapons should be banned, in NO way weakens my argument that the 2nd A should be honored.
Arbitrary, no -- logical, yes.
-- RemBeau 21:29, 27 August 2008 (EDT)


Not unlimited IF you mean nuclear weapons, things of that kind.
I DO have a real reason to WANT to draw the line, i just don't know exactly where. (Only Anarchists have all the answers.)
I'm sorry, I don't understand. You have a reason to want to draw the line, of course. And you have a reason for saying some guns should be legal. But we're talking about specific policy opinions... if you can't actually draw that line, then what use are libertarian principles in arriving at decisions? It seems like they are great for vague statements, but when actually pressed on specific items, you tend to blur.
No -- you haven't, but if that is the way YOU define arbitrariness and insist that you may not argue a topic unless you can draw a clear line, you'd have to throw out a HUGE amount of posts on RW -- d'accord? I don't mind being held to a higher standard, but your standard is impossible in almost all cases.
I imagine that if I were to parse through RW, I'd find all kinds of things that weren't clear and nonarbitrary policy statements. But in fairness, I think you have to admit that few of those posts were under the same strictures as your own. As you recall, we began this discussion because I asked you for specific policy positions, from you as a libertarian. From the beginnings of this discussion and with mutual assent, you were being asked for concrete and specific items that libertarian principles held should be done.
Admiration -- that is how i feel about the skillful way you have handled this point. You carefully separated yourself from the Liberal horde as one who would not take a position unless YOU have an "answer". You apparently never responded to the Liberal Beliefs poll, an obvious place for me to search in order to come up with one of your responses, not as a Tu Quoque, but as a way to ferret out actual differences between how you justify your positions as opposed to mine. Nicely done, and that will make it harder for me to refute your rebuke, but refute it i must. If i let you get away with it, you could use it repeatedly in the future, regardless of its logic.
Well, since we're discussing libertarian beliefs and you have specifically held yourself to be a representative of those beliefs. So I'm sorry if you dislike being held to defending those beliefs, but that was what you came here to do, wasn't it?
But to both of our good fortune, I did address the "Liberal Beliefs" thing here, out of the way of the tumult. And in fact I have even begun to write a statement of my general political beliefs, for you to examine my views if you care to do so.
You may not see it as i do, but your approach was Argument of the Beard. You ask me to draw a line as to what arms are covered by The Right To Bear Arms, and were i to draw one, you could say, "We'll what about low yeld nuclear weapons?" And when it is discovered that there is some point at which i cannot draw a line, you could imply that defeats my argument that the Second Amendment be honored. Or upbraid me (as you did) for not being able to have an answer ready as to exactly where that line should be drawn.
I disagree. I think that the only important question when it comes to American gun control is where to draw the line. Virtually no one thinks there should be unlimited gun ownership. And very few think there should be zero gun ownership. The only point of substance in the matter is where to draw the line. And yet you think it was unfair of me to ask you your principles and basis for establishing that line, and for some location for it?
That dog doesn't hunt. If it did, we could never have rape laws. But we HAVE to have them; the principle is extremely important despite the fact that sometimes drawing the line as to what constitutes rape can be very difficult, and in fact you can be certain that innocent men have been found guilty because of it.
And yet there is a line. And a reason for where that line is. In public law, it's an inconsistent line. But in private beliefs, I think it is not unreasonable to ask for a line, as well. I haven't parsed your statements into nothing as yet in the discussion, and did not intend to do so with an answer on this point, either.
The fact that i, without consulting with others, am unable to draw the weapons line when it comes to keeping and using arms, but believe that nuclear weapons should be banned, in NO way weakens my argument that the 2nd A should be honored.
Arbitrary, no -- logical, yes.
I apologize, but I disagree. I think it establishes pretty clearly that libertarian principles aren't capable of drawing that line. If you need to consult with other libertarians on the matter, you can go ahead and do so; no one's stopping you. But as a self-proclaimed libertarian here to defend policy positions, I don't think you should be free to dismiss questions about those positions with such handwaving, "oh there's a line but I can't draw it."
I have thought, and continue to think, that libertarian principles are heterogenous and inconsistent. They are usually used to dictate a very self-serving social construction of the world that would primarily benefit the holder of those beliefs; they are akin to Objectivism in that way. So when I ask you for some solid policy beliefs and then try to get at how you arrived at those, I am not surprised when you either offer entirely inaccurate positions based in ignorance (such as your opposition to public financing) or rather vague support for something like gun ownership without the ability to supply specifics. I'm sorry, but this is not dispelling my impressions (or those of others) about your belief system.--Tom Moorefiat justitia ruat coelum 22:45, 27 August 2008 (EDT)

Exchange Ten[edit]

// ... if you can't actually draw that line, then what use are libertarian principles in arriving at decisions?
A very strange comment. First, i told you how i would draw the line if i HAD to -- that is NOT the same as saying i couldn't draw the line if i HAD to -- nor is it equivalent to "can't actually draw that line". Please tell me you SEE that.
I know you reject that as a satisfactory answer, fine, but that is different than i "can't actually draw that line". Just chalk it up to your opinion that YOU could draw that line, right now, and feel good about it, because maybe the only person who would disagree with the line you draw would be a Libt.
Not only do i reject the way you see it, but i also see it as illogical to dismiss Libt principles on that account. My goal is to be adamant that the Second Amendment be respected, and it not be distorted -- those are the two biggest threats at the moment. That must surely be at cross purposes with your goal on the issue.
But i don't even know what YOUR goal is, or why you are so intent in proving me wrong on the issue. Or maybe that is your ONLY goal?
// It seems like they are great for vague statements, but when actually pressed on specific items, you tend to blur.
Bunk, my Liberal friend. They aren't vague and i didn't blur, those are just YOUR terms for my point of view, being that you disagree with it. Nor does it make sense for you to characterize my repeated answers as "dismissing" the issue. It is how i SEE the issue. Maybe it's time to show how YOUR view is better.
Libertarianism is about principles, NOT about specific policy positions, altho opinions should flow logically from those principles. That seems to be at loggerheads with Libs (and Cons), which is all about taking stands, which often appears to be nothing but partisanship. (I know, you see the Pubs as more partisan than the Dems.)
// I have thought, and continue to think, that libertarian principles are heterogenous and inconsistent.
Here you're on to something, but let me be specific
Heterogeneous does, it seems to me, describe Libt views, but to me, that's not a bad thing, altho it would be nice i guess if every Libt saw everything EXACTLY the same way. Is this something Liberals have achieved, in your opinion? (I don't mean EXACTLY the same way.)
Inconsistent? I'm guilty as charged, but most Libts don't have that problem. Is it your belief that Liberals AREN'T inconsistent? Liberal views dovetail, do they?
Okay, as to me. I just do not BELIEVE that everything, given human understanding, CAN be consistent. Disagree if you like, and feel superior because you believe YOUR views don't have that defect, but if they don't, they'll be suspect in my eyes. There is a lot of backfilling going on, taking positions and THEN trying to invent consistent reasons to support it.
It is my view that the underlying themes are often unknown to us mere mortals, and that until geniuses tease them out, many of the best views will appear to be inconsistent, when in fact, they really aren't at some level.
---
Do not hesitate to remind me that i have left your posts completely unanswered in days -- i had missed two of them. I no longer receive notice when i login to RW that there are responses on my "watch" pages, and don't know why that is. (Maybe best to notify me on my talk page. They can always be deleted later.)
-- RemBeau 21:39, 28 August 2008 (EDT)
Do you know what "backfilling" means??? ħumanUser talk:Human 23:15, 28 August 2008 (EDT)


A very strange comment. First, i told you how i would draw the line if i HAD to -- that is NOT the same as saying i couldn't draw the line if i HAD to -- nor is it equivalent to "can't actually draw that line". Please tell me you SEE that.
I apologize, I must have missed where you told me the line would be. Inasmuch as I can see, you excluded only "nuclear weapons and that sort of thing," and declared that if need be you would meet with some other people and "hash it out with them."
I know you reject that as a satisfactory answer, fine, but that is different than i "can't actually draw that line". Just chalk it up to your opinion that YOU could draw that line, right now, and feel good about it, because maybe the only person who would disagree with the line you draw would be a Libt.
Not only do i reject the way you see it, but i also see it as illogical to dismiss Libt principles on that account. My goal is to be adamant that the Second Amendment be respected, and it not be distorted -- those are the two biggest threats at the moment. That must surely be at cross purposes with your goal on the issue.
Your goal is to respect the Second Amendment and not distort it. That's fine. You could draw a line on this issue if you wanted to do so, but aren't going to. Libertarian principles could resolve this, but you're not going to use them to do so.
You really want me to have to take your word on all of this?
If libertarian principles, whatever those may be in this situation, are of use, then draw the damn line. If you cannot because you have to ask other people or you don't know libertarianism that well or this issue is too hard or whatever, then just say so. But the "I could but I'm not going to right now" answer doesn't hold any water with me, since my position remains that libertarian principles are useless for the matter.
But i don't even know what YOUR goal is, or why you are so intent in proving me wrong on the issue. Or maybe that is your ONLY goal?
I am intent on demonstrating that libertarian principles are ill-defined and useless in any practical matter. So far, I think I am succeeding admirably.
Bunk, my Liberal friend. They aren't vague and i didn't blur, those are just YOUR terms for my point of view, being that you disagree with it. Nor does it make sense for you to characterize my repeated answers as "dismissing" the issue. It is how i SEE the issue. Maybe it's time to show how YOUR view is better.
Well, you can't draw a line on gun control, although you could make vague statements about protecting rights. You couldn't specify any government bloat in the school budget or propose solutions for education, although you could make vague statements about competition improving things. You could propose eliminating the income tax donation to public financing, but as it turns out that's because you didn't understand it or the program. You could propose tax cuts across the board like Kennedy, but as it turns out that's because you didn't know that Kennedy cut taxes for the poor and middle-class (progressive taxation) from a rate not at all comparable to today's rate.
Kinda blurry.
Libertarianism is about principles, NOT about specific policy positions, altho opinions should flow logically from those principles. That seems to be at loggerheads with Libs (and Cons), which is all about taking stands, which often appears to be nothing but partisanship. (I know, you see the Pubs as more partisan than the Dems.)
Oh, I agree. Libertarianism is all about vague principles.
Heterogeneous does, it seems to me, describe Libt views, but to me, that's not a bad thing, altho it would be nice i guess if every Libt saw everything EXACTLY the same way. Is this something Liberals have achieved, in your opinion? (I don't mean EXACTLY the same way.)
You're changing the goal mid-stream. I didn't say "exactly the same way." That would be an absurd and laughable goal, and discount the high value of diversity of thought. I said "heterogenous," meaning to indicate that libertarians generally hold few beliefs in common.
Inconsistent? I'm guilty as charged, but most Libts don't have that problem. Is it your belief that Liberals AREN'T inconsistent? Liberal views dovetail, do they?
To my great good fortune, I don't really claim to be representative of a group. I identify myself as a "liberal" for convenience's sake, and have a consistent belief system and set of policy positions.
Overall, however, I do think that liberal views dovetail, even though it should be noted that liberalism in America is now generally only defined in opposition to conservatism, rather than being the coherent movement of conservatism or libertarianism.
Okay, as to me. I just do not BELIEVE that everything, given human understanding, CAN be consistent. Disagree if you like, and feel superior because you believe YOUR views don't have that defect, but if they don't, they'll be suspect in my eyes. There is a lot of backfilling going on, taking positions and THEN trying to invent consistent reasons to support it.
It is my view that the underlying themes are often unknown to us mere mortals, and that until geniuses tease them out, many of the best views will appear to be inconsistent, when in fact, they really aren't at some level.
I view consistency as a goal, since it means that one began from principles to arrive at policy positions. That has been my effort, in any case. I'm sure some people do the opposite. I'm sorry you feel differently.--Tom Moorefiat justitia ruat coelum 23:15, 28 August 2008 (EDT)

Exchange Eleven[edit]

[unindent] We're just going to have to agree i guess that you are wrong and i am right and move on. Voltaire would understand when i say, I defend your right to be wrong. Dogs with bones pale in comparison.

I do accept your insincere apology. As to your "You really want me to have to take your word on all of this?" -- i think that would be best, and your effort would be ennobling.

// I am intent on demonstrating that libertarian principles are ill-defined and useless in any practical matter.

A worthy goal from your perspective, and i expected no less. I have to warn you, i take off points for repeated assertions, and remind you that reciting the "libertarian principles are ill-defined and useless in any practical matter" mantra doesn't make it so.

// So far, I think I am succeeding admirably.

I've often said that Liberalism depends on fantasy worlds, and far be it from me to burst in on your daydream. Reality can be a drag, and i wish you could visit the dentist in my stead.

// ... you didn't know that Kennedy cut taxes for the poor and middle-class ...

Ah, it seems we have come full circle. Kennedy (and you) only THINKS that he is helping the poor at the expense of the rich. Simplistic thinking on his part as i have clearly shown. Too bad Abe Lincoln wasn't a Dem, lest you might respect, and even understand, him when he said, "You can't strengthen the poor by weakening the rich".

There is still time for you to alter your thought patterns, and i would be honored to have played a small part in leading you out of the cave into the light.

// To my great good fortune, I don't really claim to be representative of a group. I identify myself as a "liberal" for convenience's sake, and have a consistent belief system and set of policy positions.

Talk about luck -- you got it. And i don't doubt for one second that you "have a consistent belief system and set of policy positions", not to mention the strength of your superstitions.

// I view consistency as a goal, since it means that one began from principles to arrive at policy positions.

Izzat what it means to you? Actually i see making consistency a goal as forcing things to fit in places where they really don't. Logic, reason, and reality all trump consistency. Those three i find to be reliable guides.

// That has been my effort, in any case.

Your honesty commends you.

// I'm sorry you feel differently.

I hope that is not sympathy. I hate sympathy.

I do look forward to addressing your points that i have skipped so far. You must be able to type a million words a minute.

-- RemBeau 08:21, 29 August 2008 (EDT)

We're just going to have to agree i guess that you are wrong and i am right and move on. Voltaire would understand when i say, I defend your right to be wrong. Dogs with bones pale in comparison.
I do accept your insincere apology. As to your "You really want me to have to take your word on all of this?" -- i think that would be best, and your effort would be ennobling.
Haha, sure, I'm sure that's what everyone else sees, too. You can't answer the question, so I must be wrong. You are the very soul of rhetorical skill.
A worthy goal from your perspective, and i expected no less. I have to warn you, i take off points for repeated assertions, and remind you that reciting the "libertarian principles are ill-defined and useless in any practical matter" mantra doesn't make it so.
Repeated assertions... would those be things like asserting that current economic circumstances are similar to those of the Kennedy era, which is laughably untrue and which you didn't even attempt to support? And I think I've provided ample evidence in this discussion as to my "mantra"'s truth.
Ah, it seems we have come full circle. Kennedy (and you) only THINKS that he is helping the poor at the expense of the rich. Simplistic thinking on his part as i have clearly shown. Too bad Abe Lincoln wasn't a Dem, lest you might respect, and even understand, him when he said, "You can't strengthen the poor by weakening the rich".
You have shown? You have stated, but I don't think you have shown. Under Reagan and Bush and other recent Presidents who have cut taxes so much, we have seen the deficit explode each time. How did you "show" anything, beyond making statements that end up being demonstrably false?
I do look forward to addressing your points that i have skipped so far. You must be able to type a million words a minute.
You'll forgive me, I'm sure, for waiting for you to actually get back to addressing substantive points and not responding to your speech.--Tom Moorefiat justitia ruat coelum 11:17, 29 August 2008 (EDT)

Exchange Twelve[edit]

Sure, i forgive ... but i NEVER forget.
Slights that is, but with your previous points, i will have to re-read them. Here's one now ...
// You're changing the goal mid-stream. I didn't say "exactly the same way."
I don't remember saying that you said that, but if i did, i take it back.
// ... it should be noted that liberalism in America is now generally only defined in opposition to conservatism, rather than being the coherent movement of conservatism or libertarianism.
Yoiks! I must be misreading this because i AGREE.
> L) Helmet laws for motorcyclists // Yes.
Am i allowed to know your reasoning on this?
> M) Humanitarian intervention in other nations // Yes, absolutely. A responsible and moral nation has an obligation to help others.
Hmm. This should probably be explored. In fact, why not make this a separate page, using that sentence as an exact headline? And titled, "Responsibilities_of_moral_nations". That should attract a lot of posts that reveal how people think, given that this topic is fraught with complex issues.
N) Penalties on companies that hire offshore // Not "penalties," but incentives for domestic job production.
Wonder what those would be? And why wouldn't it be smarter for govt to back off those policies which have priced the American worker out of the market?
> X) Welfare // Absolutely. Numerous studies have established the "one-for-one crowdout" of charity is a complete myth.
YO !!! ???
// The poor should eat.
I'm good with that. I know, you probably believe Libertarianism is about Social Darwinism -- i hope i am at least able to convince you that is false.
Just ask a Liberal why Liberals are superior, he'll often answer, "more compassionate than others". Really? That needs to be probed.
Could it not be that the difference is not the depth of compassion, but the approach we take to solve the problem of poverty?
> 1 Building nuclear power plants // Not very strongly, but oppose for economic reasons. Solar power is the future.
I hope you're right on this one, but it was my impression that we are nowhere near close to having the technology to meet the huge world energy demand, and that the economics involved is bad news. Have we recently made great strides with it?
> 8 School choice // Expressed so vaguely, it's impossible to express a position.
Okay -- did you happen to read my comments on this in response to a post of Human's? If so, do you agree at all with my comments? If not, i'll have to find it for you.
---
Now that i have read your Liberal_Beliefs_Thing, it's clear you are not all a solid Liberal (as you hinted earlier), since you agree with me on so many issues. It may be you that you are a partial-crypto-Libertarian. (I probably should have whispered that, for your safety.)
-- RemBeau 23:36, 29 August 2008 (EDT)


> L) Helmet laws for motorcyclists // Yes.
Am i allowed to know your reasoning on this?
To be honest, they just seem like a good thing. It's not something I've ever really thought about, since I've never owned a motorcycle or known anyone who has one. I can see the other side of the argument very easily as well. Not anything like an important issue to me, so I haven't thought into it much.
N) Penalties on companies that hire offshore // Not "penalties," but incentives for domestic job production.
Wonder what those would be? And why wouldn't it be smarter for govt to back off those policies which have priced the American worker out of the market?
Tax incentives within reason to remain domestic. This is already being done in most places, but poorly and sometimes unreasonably. A national tax reform bill to this effect would be well-placed.
Could you specify which policies you want to eliminate, please?
> X) Welfare // Absolutely. Numerous studies have established the "one-for-one crowdout" of charity is a complete myth.
YO !!! ???
Is that a question?
> 1 Building nuclear power plants // Not very strongly, but oppose for economic reasons. Solar power is the future.
I hope you're right on this one, but it was my impression that we are nowhere near close to having the technology to meet the huge world energy demand, and that the economics involved is bad news. Have we recently made great strides with it?
Yes. It is approaching a solid $1 per watt now, an enormous stride forward from $4.50 per watt some years ago. Plus, it's simply the best alternative for America. Other countries may need to choose other solutions, since they lack the American Southwest.
Sorry to interrupt, but this advance definitely qualifies as "major". In case you haven't already seen it. --Kels 11:08, 30 August 2008 (EDT)
> 8 School choice // Expressed so vaguely, it's impossible to express a position.
Okay -- did you happen to read my comments on this in response to a post of Human's? If so, do you agree at all with my comments? If not, i'll have to find it for you.
No, I didn't see that. I didn't read anyone else's responses on that thing, actually.
Now that i have read your Liberal_Beliefs_Thing, it's clear you are not all a solid Liberal (as you hinted earlier), since you agree with me on so many issues. It may be you that you are a partial-crypto-Libertarian. (I probably should have whispered that, for your safety.)
I think almost everyone would consider me very liberal, but if you think otherwise, that's fine. It's not a label to which I am particularly attached.
I can't help but notice you have completely abandoned even the pretense of trying to propose libertarian policies and back them with libertarian beliefs, and instead have moved on to questioning my own views. And while you are entirely within your rights to do so, the best place to do it is probably not from that absurd little quiz. This is much more thought-out, if you are going to abandon libertarianism and discuss my views instead.--Tom Moorefiat justitia ruat coelum 00:06, 30 August 2008 (EDT)

Wherein human interrupts on the second holy amendment[edit]

I think, taking originalist thinking into account, that the second amendment to the US Constitution guarantees the right to own and bear muzzle loading rifles and flintlock pistols, since that is what "arms" were in those days. Oh, and also, cannon. The prohibition would be on weapons that used "sealed" cartridges, of any caliber. I think this is pretty clear, and would be understood by any "I wish I lived in the revolutionary era" libertarian. PS, that's a real quote. ħumanUser talk:Human 01:02, 28 August 2008 (EDT)

That's impossible. No Libertarian ever says a dumb thing. If he were to, it would reflect on me of course, and diminish my stature.
-- RemBeau 21:43, 28 August 2008 (EDT)
Well, you are "identifying" as one. I guess if no other libertarian I know is a true libertarian, you are a "party of one". So drop the label already and tell us what you think - you seem to prefer to attack others after asking what they think, to presenting your perspective and defending it. ħumanUser talk:Human 23:24, 28 August 2008 (EDT)
"Libertarianism is about principles, NOT about specific policy positions, altho opinions should flow logically from those principles" First, I tire of your random abbreviations. If I can type "libertarian", you can type "although". Anyway, to critique what I quoted you saying. If opinions flow logically from those principles, what the hell are your positions on the issues of the day? Because that is what matters. Or are you too trapped in your ivory tower of principles and philosophy to recommend to us mortals living in the material world what we should do next? ħumanUser talk:Human 23:13, 28 August 2008 (EDT)

Waffle[edit]

Thesauruses (thesauri?):[edit]

Waffle
equivocation
Waffle
pause or hold back in uncertainty or unwillingness; "Authorities hesitate to quote exact figures"
hesitate, waver
dwell on, linger over - delay
boggle - hesitate when confronted with a problem, or when in doubt or fear
hover, linger - move to and fro; "The shy student lingered in the corner"
hover, oscillate, vacillate, vibrate - be undecided about something; waver between conflicting positions or courses of action; "He oscillates between accepting the new position and retirement"
falter, waver - be unsure or weak; "Their enthusiasm is faltering"

Dictionary[edit]

waffle
Informal, chiefly Brit, Austral & NZ
Verb
[-fling, -fled]
to speak or write in a vague and wordy manner
Noun
vague and wordy speech or writing [origin unknown]

Susanary[edit]

Waffle
To behave like a libertarian describing libertarianism

SusanG  ContribsTalk 09:03, 29 August 2008 (EDT)

I certainly agree, at least in the case of this particular "libertarian". ħumanUser talk:Human 00:56, 30 August 2008 (EDT)

Susanaria[edit]

Noun. Sue-zan-ah-REE-yah

An eating establishment designed to provide nourishment for the terminally confused. A last attempt, before shock therapy, to sort out bad cranial wiring.

-- Terminally Confused --

Adjectival phrase -- also can be a noun phrase.

Symptoms:

Inability to distinguish between waffles, funnel cakes, crepes, tortillas, and brilliant, nuanced opinions.

Prognosis:

Likely to rise no higher than Liberalism. Incredibly unlikely to reach the pinnacle of human achievement -- AKA Libertarianism.

-- RemBeau 00:37, 30 August 2008 (EDT)

Rimjob = Arrogant jerk. Cannot defend his so-called "positions" (since he takes none and only attacks others), and thinks he is smarter than everyone else, in spite of much evidence to the contrary. ħumanUser talk:Human 01:02, 30 August 2008 (EDT)
Isn't everybody like that in their youth, Human? It takes years of life experience, and a CP block, to be able to say this. Editor at CPLiar at RP! 06:42, 30 August 2008 (EDT)
And there was I: trying to rise above Ad Hominem. SusanG  ContribsTalk 12:35, 30 August 2008 (EDT)
Oh what the hell: "Come back in ten years or so when you've seen the real world - you'll be about eighteen then, at a guess." Regards SusanG  ContribsTalk 12:45, 30 August 2008 (EDT)
Sooooo serious. Lighten up. It was just tit-for-tat humor -- thought you might enjoy it.
-- RemBeau 14:41, 30 August 2008 (EDT)t

To quote (out of context, but it fits) the Scottish Play:" - it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing." , Rembrant, I think you talk illconceived, imprecise, bollocks - at great length as if sheer weight of words will make whatever point it is that you're striving for. Your humor is not appreciated. (My entry was intended to be serious) SusanG  ContribsTalk 15:08, 30 August 2008 (EDT)

Exchange Thirteen[edit]

Tom: // ... you have completely abandoned even the pretense of trying to propose libertarian policies and back them with libertarian beliefs ...

No, not true. I shall "propose libertarian policies and back them with libertarian beliefs" (school choice is one i will address shortly) when i think of them, but that is not so easily done. Here's why:

As Liberalism concocts a plethora of policies at the drop of a hat, and as Libertarianism is much more about principles than policies, there is bound to be an inbalance. To put it another way, Liberals have tons of policies and tend to be proud to trot them out. Libts have VERY few in comparison, and are proud to trot out principles instead, chief among them is that govt should be reigned in, drastically, which will eleviate many of humanities problems.

As you are by now aware, Libts are ABSOLUTELY convinced that we should be free, and that, by the way, a free society is much better able to bestow on its citizens the MOST blessings -- those blessings which pretty much all shades of political and western philosophical thought are agreed upon.

Thinking as a Liberal, you INSIST on discussing MY policies, and clearly have not understood my reluctance to provide them. (It reminds me a lttle bit of someone, having been told you speak French, asking you to "say something in French".) My policies hardly matter, my principles do. THAT is our contrast in approach and in thinking.

As a Libt speaking only for myself, i have not figured out how to convince anyone how incredibly important freedom is. And if someone doesn't have that little spark, that hint of a belief in freedom, discussion is hopeless in that regard. That is how i see it based on my experience. The natural tendency is for folks to want more government, and most won't be talked out of it.

So i am reduced to arguing on a utilitarian front -- freedom delivers the goods. Even there, statist tendencies are hard to overcome; Libt views go against the grain. Since i realize that, you may wonder if i hope to "convert" hard-core Liberals in a Liberal forum. Hardly. What i WOULD like to accomplish (and have no idea if i'm really succeeding) is to debunk the prejudices most Liberals have concerning Libertarianism. False ideas concerning Libertarianism abound in Liberal groups, and are much in evidence on this site.

The first hurdle is to get past the Liberal feeling that intent is destiny, and akin to that, determining a person's motivation is most important. If you are of good will and sincere, your policies will benefit mankind; surely they won't be counter-productive. Among Liberals especially, that superstition dies hard. And a corollary: if someone proposes an anti-Liberal policy, that person is evil, or at the very least insincere and ill-willed. Because if he weren't, he'd BE a Liberal.

How can a Libt make any headway if his motives are automatically impugned, given he disagrees with Liberal policies? He would have to pretend to be a Liberal, and chip away, ever so slowly, at hard-entrenched Liberal ideas, i suppose. Not honest, nor even a winning strategy. Maybe i can at least open some Liberal minds on the "not automatically harboring evil motives" front.

Perhaps an example would serve to bring some of these concepts into focus. Homosexuality. Do gays really believe that straight Liberals consider them equal? Or that only those that are pro-gay can be trusted? That would speak to relying on motivation, which in this case would be relying on a lot of hypocrisy. Gays are better off aligning themselves with those that strongly and dependably believe in live-and-let-live, those whose political principles are adamantly opposed to govt having any say on most issues. The only downside for Liberal gays is that would also mean no PRO-gay legislation. Some gays have figured that out, and have joined Libt ranks (several at every gathering), where they rub elbows with religious people, and nobody there has a problem with that. And very little patronizing goes on among the members, it has been my observation.

-- RemBeau 06:05, 1 September 2008 (EDT)

Swell, a speech.
Liberals have tons of policies and tend to be proud to trot them out. Libts have VERY few in comparison, and are proud to trot out principles instead
Certainly true, although not something I would have imagined a libertarian would brag about. Not that uselessness isn't a charming trait in political approaches.
My policies hardly matter, my principles do. THAT is our contrast in approach and in thinking.
Indeed, that is the contrast. I think both matter a great deal. If a set of vague principles cannot provide any concrete improvement in approach to living our lives, then they might be of intense philosophical interest, but relatively little political interest. We can't govern by deciding that policies "hardly matter" and making speeches casting aspersions on other political philosophies, we have to actually do things. We live on this planet, not in whatever theoretical world would enable libertarianism to be useful.
What i WOULD like to accomplish (and have no idea if i'm really succeeding) is to debunk the prejudices most Liberals have concerning Libertarianism.
My prejudices against libertarianism were that it was useful for vague statements and useless for actual decisions. Guess if you've succeeded.
if someone proposes an anti-Liberal policy, that person is evil, or at the very least insincere and ill-willed
I have accused you of neither. I haven't even implied either.
You admit that libertarianism doesn't lend itself to actually formulating policies and that it is very hard for you to come up with any policies based in your philosophy that you can defend. That's good. That's all I was interested in demonstrating from the beginning. I'm not really interested in some sort of rhetorical contest where you allege your principles are somehow better, since that's a laughably impossible way to compare two political philosophies. Politics only matter to the degree in which they affect people's lives.
Make speeches. Praise the free market. Propose vague statements of principle. Abandon every unsupported policy you manage to propose when challenged.
From first to last, sir, you are indeed a libertarian.--Tom Moorefiat justitia ruat coelum 06:54, 1 September 2008 (EDT)

Exchange Fourteen[edit]

Your last comment -- nice of you to say so; a compliment at last.
Here is an issue i promised to bring up, a very Libertarian one: choice in education. Usually Liberals oppose it.
Given that govt gathers taxes for the purpose of educating kids, why shouldn't parents be allowed to divert those funds to the schools of their choosing (just that share that would be spent on their children)? That money should adhere to the kids rather than to specific schools, and there is no good reason that parents shouldn't be free to divert it to any educational system they think best for them. I've heard lots of statist objections from those in teacher's unions who want to be in control, and tend to see things from the point of view as to what's best for employees rather than what's best for customers (in this case, the students).
-- RemBeau 23:13, 6 September 2008 (EDT)
Here is an issue i promised to bring up, a very Libertarian one: choice in education. Usually Liberals oppose it.
Would you mind if we referred to this as "school vouchers" rather than "choice in education." The former actually describes the issue, while the latter is a term chosen by conservative proponents of vouchers in an attempt to paint opponents as being against the idea of "choice."
Given that govt gathers taxes for the purpose of educating kids, why shouldn't parents be allowed to divert those funds to the schools of their choosing (just that share that would be spent on their children)? That money should adhere to the kids rather than to specific schools, and there is no good reason that parents shouldn't be free to divert it to any educational system they think best for them. I've heard lots of statist objections from those in teacher's unions who want to be in control, and tend to see things from the point of view as to what's best for employees rather than what's best for customers (in this case, the students).
Thank you for returning to specific policy. Before we discuss this further, I should mention that I am assuming that you are advocating the most commonly-proposed form of the voucher system, with parents able to send their children to private schools if they so choose.
The main flaw in your proposal is that we should try to educate all children, not just the ones whose parents made the smart choice. Education being a public responsibility and vital to the future of our nation, it's not something we can just abandon when it comes to the losers in "free market education." Let me explain.
Parents will inevitably send their children to the best school they can find. In District 12, let us say there are three schools: two public, and one private. One of them, Urban High has a bad reputation for violence and poor education. With the voucher system, a high percentage of parents are going to send their children to the other two schools. Generously, let us call it 40% of Urban High. Correspondingly, and exactly according to plan, Urban High loses 40% of its funding, and it is split between the other two schools. The state actually pays out more per student, since the private school raises tuition to match demand (free market, after all).
The private school does very well, of course. The wealthy in District 12 already paid for tuition previously, but now they universally send their children to "public school" and don't have to pay out any money themselves. The upper-middle class and upper class save quite a bit this way, and the private school - which raised tuition to match enormous demand, remember - can build a new science wing and auditorium. Everyone who goes to the school does well, particularly since as a private institution they can turn away everyone who is disabled, fails their entrance test, and so on. Special programs for the disabled are expensive, and it takes much more teacher time to educate the weaker students.
It doesn't go so well for Urban High. The money per student wasn't spent on things like power and teachers, it was also spent on televisions and dodgeballs. Fewer students mean less expenses, but it also means there is much less extra money for the things that help education these days. And since Urban High can't turn away the disabled or poor students, they have more of them proportionally and much more to spend. They can't afford the best teachers, of course, either. Education suffers, and the number of people who send their students to the other schools becomes greater and greater.
C'est la vie?--Tom Moorefiat justitia ruat coelum 23:39, 6 September 2008 (EDT)
"why shouldn't parents be allowed to divert those funds to the schools of their choosing (just that share that would be spent on their children)?" So, er, Rem, do I get to keep my money? (No kids) Or do parents get to take my share of the money and spend it on a school I have no vote at? ħumanUser talk:Human 00:37, 7 September 2008 (EDT)

Exchange Fifteen[edit]

Tom: // Would you mind if we referred to this as "school vouchers" rather than "choice in education." The former actually describes the issue, while the latter is a term chosen by conservative proponents of vouchers in an attempt to paint opponents as being against the idea of "choice."
It's fine with me if you want to refer to "school vouchers" as that scheme works for me. But i chose the term "choice in education" carefully, because there are likely many ways parental choice could be implemented, and i am not wedded to the voucher approach.
I hope "choice in education" isn't going to find it's way onto the "code words" page, which would effectively brand it as non-PC -- this is the kind of thing that makes discussion very difficult.
// Before we discuss this further, I should mention that I am assuming that you are advocating the most commonly-proposed form of the voucher system, with parents able to send their children to private schools if they so choose.
Okay, but i reserve the right to speak of an alternative scheme should you define the school vouchers in a way that i couldn't agree with.
// The main flaw in your proposal is that we should try to educate all children, not just the ones whose parents made the smart choice. Education being a public responsibility and vital to the future of our nation, it's not something we can just abandon when it comes to the losers in "free market education." Let me explain.
// Parents will inevitably send their children to the best school they can find.
Be careful not to assume that everybody would agree which school is best. I can guarantee you that parents have different criteria. I could probable come up with a dozen examples. And i would expect schools would differ in the quality of their different disciplines, and those that want a greater emphasis in math (say) may base their choice on that.
// In District 12, let us say there are three schools: two public, and one private. One of them, Urban High has a bad reputation for violence and poor education. With the voucher system, a high percentage of parents are going to send their children to the other two schools. Generously, let us call it 40% of Urban High. Correspondingly, and exactly according to plan, Urban High loses 40% of its funding, and it is split between the other two schools.
Possibly, but please refer to my comment just above.
// The state actually pays out more per student, since the private school raises tuition to match demand (free market, after all).
Do i understand you right that you believe free market competition actually raises prices?
// The private school does very well, of course.
What leads you to that assumption?
// The wealthy in District 12 already paid for tuition previously, but now they universally send their children to "public school" and don't have to pay out any money themselves.
There are potential contradictions here ... let me try to sort them out. Are you saying that the wealthy will universally send their kids to public school? And if that were so, nobody would have to pay more than their taxes covered, and that would somehow not be okay?
// The upper-middle class and upper class save quite a bit this way, and the private school - which raised tuition to match enormous demand, remember - can build a new science wing and auditorium.
Now i am totally lost. Even if i swapped the terms private and public, i can't understand it.
// Everyone who goes to the school does well, particularly since as a private institution they can turn away everyone who is disabled, fails their entrance test, and so on.
I'm not sure that things have to work that way.
// Special programs for the disabled are expensive,
True, but providing the lines drawn are the same, i can't see why they would cost more than before. (The lines i'm thinking of are the ones that divide the abled from the disabled, and the uneducable from both of those.)
// and it takes much more teacher time to educate the weaker students.
That's not at all true, it just depends on where you decide to put your resources. There is a very good case to be made that society would benefit more if there were more emphasis on educating the most promising students. I think i favor that, but i can't make my case here.
// It doesn't go so well for Urban High. The money per student wasn't spent on things like power and teachers, it was also spent on televisions and dodgeballs.
I'm not following. If this is to you an important point, i need to understand it.
// Fewer students mean less expenses, but it also means there is much less extra money for the things that help education these days. And since Urban High can't turn away the disabled or poor students, they have more of them proportionally and much more to spend.
// They can't afford the best teachers, of course, either. Education suffers, and the number of people who send their students to the other schools becomes greater and greater.
Sorry. This probably depends on my understanding some of your previous points, unless you are just making assumptions.
// C'est la vie?
Vraiment.
I am struck by how much differently you and i approach this issue. Very interesting. This topic has promise.
-- RemBeau 20:32, 7 September 2008 (EDT)
Human: // So, er, Rem, do I get to keep my money? (No kids)
This is slightly off topic, but i favor a tax system known as "empty nesters". Those that no longer have their kids in school would pay reduced taxes. Areas that don't do this get caught in a vicious cycle. Those without kids move out because of the tax burden, more people with kids move in, bigger schools have to be built, which increases the tax burden again.
It's smart to keep childless taxpayers in town.
// Or do parents get to take my share of the money and spend it on a school I have no vote at?
That's the way taxes work, do they not? I don't remember having a say in where ANY of MY tax money is being spent.
You REALLY want to be able to determine where parents have to send their own kids?
-- RemBeau 20:48, 7 September 2008 (EDT)
Thanks for replying. I appreciate that you would tax me at a lower rate than parents (you, of course, realize how hard passing that would be!? - unless all the "empty nesters" voted for it. I'm not one. Just never had kids). On the second point, no. I have a vote in how my taxes are used at the local schools. If the money can be funneled to a private school, I no longer have any oversight over how that money is spent (teaching YEC?), unless my government at some level also tightly regulates those private schools (which it really doesn't, as things are). Oh, lastly, "It's smart to keep childless taxpayers in town." - why, so we can be milked to pay for schools we "don't use", or just because we're nice people? ħumanUser talk:Human 21:35, 7 September 2008 (EDT)
Rem: "Okay, but i reserve the right to speak of an alternative scheme should you define the school vouchers in a way that i couldn't agree with." We are encouraging you to elaborate your "alternative scheme". Please do so, and amke sure it works in urban, suburban, and rural locales equally well. You can feel free to go "ivory tower" and describe your "ideal system" with no route as to how to get there, or describe an incremental change to how things are done and why it would be better than what we have. Please. ħumanUser talk:Human 21:42, 7 September 2008 (EDT)

(Unindent)

Be careful not to assume that everybody would agree which school is best. I can guarantee you that parents have different criteria. I could probable come up with a dozen examples. And i would expect schools would differ in the quality of their different disciplines, and those that want a greater emphasis in math (say) may base their choice on that.

I actually can think of only a few. The vast majority of parents will decide based on the reputation of the overall education, I believe. A much lesser number will send their children to schools based on ethnic makeup or concentration in math, but that will be rare.

Do i understand you right that you believe free market competition actually raises prices?

You do understand that "free market" is not a magical wand to wave over problems, right? In this instance, because the private school has hundreds more students, they have correspondingly escalating costs. Combined with the fact that demand had increased, this is going to make them increase their prices. If you disagree with this, I suggest you take it up with New Mexico, where prices increased after vouchers were implemented.

What leads you to that assumption?

They get to charge more to correspond with demand, they get to reject all of the slower students and those with special needs, and they get to continue to adhere to higher standards than the surrounding schools, as is typical with private schools.

There are potential contradictions here ... let me try to sort them out. Are you saying that the wealthy will universally send their kids to public school? And if that were so, nobody would have to pay more than their taxes covered, and that would somehow not be okay?

No, the wealthy will continue to send their children to private schools. But now the public is paying for it. After all, why pay out of their own pocket for something they can now get for free? This also means there is no reason for them to complain about higher tuition; the state is paying for it.

Now i am totally lost. Even if i swapped the terms private and public, i can't understand it.

Private students currently pay tuition to the schools to attend. In a voucher system, they can attend on the state's dime. So they stop paying, and the state pays instead.

I'm not sure that things have to work that way.

You are going to start requiring private institutions to accept anyone? That would violate all kinds of judicial precedent.

True, but providing the lines drawn are the same, i can't see why they would cost more than before. (The lines i'm thinking of are the ones that divide the abled from the disabled, and the uneducable from both of those.)

Except that now the public schools are shouldering a much higher burden; they have the same number of special needs kids, who are expensive, but much fewer regular kids to help pay their way. The school has become a school for those who can't get into the private school: the stupid and special. It's very expensive to educate those groups.

That's not at all true, it just depends on where you decide to put your resources. There is a very good case to be made that society would benefit more if there were more emphasis on educating the most promising students. I think i favor that, but i can't make my case here.

This is bizarre... are you saying that stupid children learn just as quickly and well as smart children?

I'm not following. If this is to you an important point, i need to understand it.

Money per student does not work out to a sum total of per capita resources that student uses. It does not just equal their share in water, electricity, teacher time, and chairs. There is aggregate additional money, pooled together to buy things like televisions and gym equipment. That's why smaller schools have very few of these items, and larger schools have more of them. It enables the larger schools to use interactive DVD presentations to excite the children about learning, for example. The change in resources has essentially downgraded Urban High to a much smaller school, so they have less of these items. Education correspondingly suffers.

In New Mexico, when they implemented the voucher system, 73% of the funds went to private school students. I assume this does not surprise you, so it is beyond me why you think it would be a good thing. Unless you start requiring private schools to lower their academic standards dramatically - something I think everyone involved would hate and is probably illegal - you are just stripping the public schools of their best and brightest, and condemning those who have no choice but to go to the nearest school, or who don't want to go to a religious institution, or any one of a dozen other reasons to go to the school filled with those who don't meet standards.--Tom Moorefiat justitia ruat coelum 00:08, 8 September 2008 (EDT)

"There is a very good case to be made that society would benefit more if there were more emphasis on educating the most promising students." Really? What about the "harder to educate" - those who would benefit most? Or do you support a two-tier society, of the well-educated "promising" and the undereducated "unpromising"? Really? Please explain your premises and conclusions... ħumanUser talk:Human 00:42, 8 September 2008 (EDT)

[unindent] Human: // Or do you support a two-tier society, of the well-educated "promising" and the undereducated "unpromising"?

A two-tiered system is what we have NOW. When local schools perform poorly, the rich send their kids to private schools -- something out of reach for most middle-class parents -- they're stuck, and this is wrong. No society can remove the advantages the rich and well-connected have, but in tax-supported education, there is no excuse for denying parents the right to choose a school that they believe best benefits their children.

Control is the issue here, and the inertia of the status quo. Who has it? The parents or the political, those that resist relinquishing control, a control that has a hold ONLY on those kids whose parents can't afford an alternative school.

The kids that are "harder to educate" would benefit most from education? I don't see that at all. What i do see at this time is a system in which average students benefit the most. The brightest are bored out of their skulls, and if they don't get special attention, may well become chronic under-achievers.

-- RemBeau 06:43, 9 September 2008 (EDT)

In the middle-class neighborhoods, at least, there are oodles of opportunities for especially bright students. They're called "Advanced Placement (AP)" classes, as I recall. Not to mention summer programs offered by whatever the local college is. Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 11:34, 9 September 2008 (EDT)


Exchange Sixteen[edit]

> Do i understand you right that you believe free market competition actually raises prices?
Tom: // You do understand that "free market" is not a magical wand to wave over problems, right?
Nothing magical about it when it comes to economic issues, it just works better than controlled economies because of natural incentives.
You didn't directly actually answer my question, tho, and it is an important point, if we disagree on it. What is obvious to me may not be obvious to you.
// In this instance, because the private school has hundreds more students, they have correspondingly escalating costs. Combined with the fact that demand had increased, this is going to make them increase their prices. If you disagree with this, I suggest you take it up with New Mexico, where prices increased after vouchers were implemented.
I have no idea how NM implemented their vouchers, nor of the data you're referring to, but i'd be willing to check out your link.
// In this instance, because the private school has hundreds more students, they have correspondingly escalating costs. Combined with the fact that demand had increased, this is going to make them increase their prices.
Increase beyond each student's share of education funds? There would be plenty of private schools that would be tickled pink to get the share per student the public school gets.
// and it takes much more teacher time to educate the weaker students.
> That's not at all true, it just depends on where you decide to put your resources. There is a very good case to be made that society would benefit more if there were more emphasis on educating the most promising students. I think i favor that, but i can't make my case here.
Give the brignt kids more advanced material and teachers, and be prepared to pay more for it. Don't give slow kids material they can't really handle, and don't require them to spend more time being taught than the rest of the students. Taking more teacher time is not a solution.
// the wealthy will continue to send their children to private schools. But now the public is paying for it.
So the wealthy (and the middle class that were struggling to make extra payments) WERE paying twice, and now have to pay only once. Where is the problem?
// After all, why pay out of their own pocket for something they can now get for free?
Who gets education for free -- certainly not the rich. You seem to be discounting the greater amount the rich have already paid toward the education of all kids.
// This is bizarre... are you saying that stupid children learn just as quickly and well as smart children?
I can see how you could interpret this the way you did, but it is not what i meant. Of course, by definition those that are slow at learning can't be expected to learn the SAME material as quickly. But it is not realistic to expect all kids to learn the same material.
// There is aggregate additional money, pooled together to buy things like televisions and gym equipment. That's why smaller schools have very few of these items, and larger schools have more of them. It enables the larger schools to use interactive DVD presentations to excite the children about learning, for example.
I think i undertand what you're saying here. More on this later.
-- RemBeau 14:07, 9 September 2008 (EDT)


Nothing magical about it when it comes to economic issues, it just works better than controlled economies because of natural incentives.
You didn't directly actually answer my question, tho, and it is an important point, if we disagree on it. What is obvious to me may not be obvious to you.
When you raise demand, then prices tend to increase. This is one of the fundamentals of economics. So when you raise demand on private schools, they raise their tuition. Eventually, they try to accommodate the demand by increasing supply, perhaps with a competing private school, but that is a long time coming with such institutions as educational facilities.
Give the brignt kids more advanced material and teachers, and be prepared to pay more for it. Don't give slow kids material they can't really handle, and don't require them to spend more time being taught than the rest of the students. Taking more teacher time is not a solution.
I can't believe you're even arguing this... all students should be meeting minimum standards of education. Reading level is a good example. In the fourth grade, students should be at a fourth-grade reading level (few are, but that's another kettle of fish). Now when Bobby is smart and Sammy is dumb, you will find that Bobby reaches the target reading level very quickly. The teacher does not have to spend much time with him, working with him to explain things or helping him with vocabulary. Sammy, on the other hand, requires much help to reach the same target. It takes more teacher time and resources.
Yet you seem to propose not helping Sammy reach the target goal, which he "can't handle," and instead working with Bobby to increase his reading level to the fifth grade, instead? Did you have some future plan in mind, which perhaps involves Morlocks?
So the wealthy (and the middle class that were struggling to make extra payments) WERE paying twice, and now have to pay only once. Where is the problem?
I'm generally rather suspicious of reforms that benefit the rich so obscenely disproportionately, especially considering that taxes will now have to go up significantly. The state is now paying for everything they used to pay for, after all.
Who gets education for free -- certainly not the rich. You seem to be discounting the greater amount the rich have already paid toward the education of all kids.
While it's not really for free, since they're paying taxes, my point was that they aren't going to continue to pay private tuition as well.
I can see how you could interpret this the way you did, but it is not what i meant. Of course, by definition those that are slow at learning can't be expected to learn the SAME material as quickly. But it is not realistic to expect all kids to learn the same material.
You don't think there should be minimum standards?
I think i undertand what you're saying here. More on this later.
When you return to this, please address my more fundamental points: how do you disagree or otherwise find fault with my indicated future trend where the slow and disabled are condemned to a ghetto public school, along with those promising students who have no choice but to go there (due to other circumstances like geography), while the other caste of able students go to an increasingly better school?--Tom Moorefiat justitia ruat coelum 19:12, 9 September 2008 (EDT)

Exchange Seventeen[edit]

// I'm generally rather suspicious of reforms that benefit the rich so obscenely disproportionately, especially considering that taxes will now have to go up significantly. The state is now paying for everything they used to pay for, after all.

You are NOT suspicious of the current system which benefits NO ONE but the rich. You are resisting REFORMS, true, because you are a true believer in govt control, at least that is how it seems to me. You definitely believe govt to be fair -- that is obviously your assumption -- and it is an assumption you cannot defend. Even if you say it is just a matter of voters making govt fair, you still believe govt to be the fairest, and that would be truly wishful thinking -- a myth that could never come true.

Perhaps you didn't read my comment: > When local schools perform poorly, the rich send their kids to private schools -- something out of reach for most middle-class parents -- they're stuck, and this is wrong. No society can remove the advantages the rich and well-connected have, but in tax-supported education, there is no excuse for denying parents the right to choose a school that they believe best benefits their children.

If you reject ALL reforms that allow parental choice in selecting schools, how then would you handle those situations (thousands of them across the country) in which local schools perform poorly?

If you can't answer that question, you are condemning the children of the poorest to the worst schools, and to the tender mercies of teacher's unions.

Also, i do not see why taxes should have to increase when competition, even in education, drives prices down. I need to address your scenarios ...

Honest -- i would MUCH rather spend more time responding to you in one of the most interesting of debates, but this week, i just cannot. Whever i can steal a few minutes, i will.

-- RemBeau 09:01, 12 September 2008 (EDT)


You are NOT suspicious of the current system which benefits NO ONE but the rich. You are resisting REFORMS, true, because you are a true believer in govt control, at least that is how it seems to me. You definitely believe govt to be fair -- that is obviously your assumption -- and it is an assumption you cannot defend. Even if you say it is just a matter of voters making govt fair, you still believe govt to be the fairest, and that would be truly wishful thinking -- a myth that could never come true.
You are trying to reduce this to principles again, when we are specifically talking about actual reality. "Reforms" is a word that really just means "change" with a pretty connotation. "Believe government to be fair" is a phrase that means almost nothing, since "fair" is so wildly subjective and variable. You call my views "wishful thinking," but inasmuch as I can see I am the one actually addressing problems with concrete and well-thought-out solutions, for all that you call my thinking a "myth." Honestly, do I really appear as idealistic and naive as all that? Have I not provided for the innate selfishness of man in my examples and illustrations?
Perhaps you didn't read my comment: > When local schools perform poorly, the rich send their kids to private schools -- something out of reach for most middle-class parents -- they're stuck, and this is wrong. No society can remove the advantages the rich and well-connected have, but in tax-supported education, there is no excuse for denying parents the right to choose a school that they believe best benefits their children.
Oh, I read it. But again, it's a well-turned platitude. You say "there is no excuse for denying parents the right to choose a school that they believe best benefits their children." But once we actually step back from that pretty aphorism, we see that we have to actually enforce policies. As Voltaire said, "A witty saying proves nothing."
If there's no excuse to stop parents choosing the best schools for their children, then why can't parents in D.C. send their children to school in upper Manhattan, with the state footing the bill for board? Your phrase would demand such treatment.
Yes, the rich get to go to private school. The rich get all kinds of advantages that the poor do not get, because the rich have large amounts of money that can be exchanged for goods. So when you try to provide for equalizing the playing field, you have to bear that in mind. I agree that in an ideal world, parents should be able to send their children to the best schools, and all schools would be the best so no children would suffer. But as it happens, my private high school didn't accept the retarded. They had no program for the retarded, no facilities, and nothing to offer them. They didn't want them. The retarded went to public school. And unless you provide for real policies that work in the world, rather than offering neat sound bites about school choice, you will end up with public schools filled to overflowing and ghettoized with the unwanted.
If you reject ALL reforms that allow parental choice in selecting schools, how then would you handle those situations (thousands of them across the country) in which local schools perform poorly?
See, this is interesting. In a page devoted to you proposing and defending libertarian policies, you are again demanding my solution, rather than addressing the problems I pointed out in your own. I guess we can do that, but I thought it bore pointing out again that you are declining to address the matter at hand. If you want to address my policies, go to the My Beliefs page to which I linked you earlier and comment on the talk.
Also, i do not see why taxes should have to increase when competition, even in education, drives prices down. I need to address your scenarios
First of all, the first rule is that prices rise when demand is higher than supply. That is (partially) why copper is more expensive now than it used to be: demand has risen sharply, while supply has risen much more slowly. That increases prices dramatically.
Now, in Libertarian World, competing copper produces all start working. In the free market, they can do so because demand is higher so there is more room for their holy capitalistic efforts. And because there are more of them, that means that competition has driven prices way down, and everyone is better off.
But in the real world, there are only so many copper mines. And there are copper suppliers who want to maintain their supply, so they monopolize or buy controlling interests and the like in order to stymie growth. And there is a certain amount of time before a copper mine starts working. And there are copper workers, who in third-world countries can't unionize and so they are paid a pittance to match the difficulty of competition while still maintaining the bosses profits.
Prices come down somewhat, of course. But Free Market is not a magic wand. You can't assume waving it over schools will work, unless you have bothered to think it out.
First of all, why would the rich pay tuition to go to their school, when the state is offering? They won't. They will stop paying tuition. Accordingly, the government will now be almost wholly responsible for paying tuitions of not just the new kids from public schools that the state is sending to Jesus Elementary, but also every previous rich student. That costs more money, a lot more.
Second of all, a huge number of new students will be wanting to go to the private school. That is a lot of demand. The private school controls the supply, which is much less than the demand. Accordingly, they will set their prices much higher. Nominally, this will be to pay for new facilities and chalk and whatever... it is perfectly justifiable. I'm sure that someone may start building new private schools to meet the demand, and in five or ten years prices will begin to drop somewhat. But that's a lot of hurt in the short term, and even in the long term it seems doubtful it will even out.
Third of all, the public schools will now have a much much higher number of retarded or slow or disadvantaged children: all the ones that weren't allowed into the private schools. And while it might take $3,000 a year to educate a retarded child under the current system, if the public schools become ghettoized in this way they will have to increase teacher salaries to convince them to work there, and they will probably have to increase security measures, and they will probably have to increase maintenance fees, and teachers will have to spend much more time with each student on average, and so on. So the cost of educating the kids in the public schools will also go up.
All of these reasons spell disaster for your pie-in-the-sky plan. This is why you need more than principles and witty sayings about how great "choice" is in order to run a country: you need policies and serious analysis.--Tom Moorefiat justitia ruat coelum 09:39, 12 September 2008 (EDT)
That's the thing about libertarians. They identify legitimate problems in government process and then fail completely to come up with a workable alternative. In the end, a libertarian is just an anarchist with a poor grasp of logic. New3.pngPink(Astronomy Domine) 10:39, 12 September 2008 (EDT)
Who says my alternatives aren't workable -- you and Tom? Where is your argument, or have you nothing but ad homs?
Okay, Tom reserved this page just for us, but there is no stopping you from starting a Mowse and Rem page. If you have something other than just saying Libertarians are wrong, that is. You see, that's not much of an argument.
-- RemBeau 22:50, 12 September 2008 (EDT)

Exchange Eighteen[edit]

> If you reject ALL reforms that allow parental choice in selecting schools, how then would you handle those situations (thousands of them across the country) in which local schools perform poorly?

// See, this is interesting. In a page devoted to you proposing and defending libertarian policies, you are again demanding my solution, ...

You leave me no choice. What am i to do when you automatically concoct an argument about every aspect of every solution i propose, as if you believe the best possible education system is the one we currently have?

I'm up against faith; faith that the govt scheme will be the best and the fairest. Perhaps faith in majority rule as somehow coming up with the best system. I cannot see how that can make any sense, even in the absence of competititon and natural incentives.

1) We both agree (i think) that the education system is broken.

2) I assert that the best fix (probably the only fix) is to allow parental choice.

3) I also suggest that until we have that, the teachers' unions will have a stranglehold on the system, and that will defeat any reforms that would weaken their power.

4) You appear to believe, a priori, there is no scheme allowing parental choice that could be better than the govt-controlled system that we have. This means everything i suggest will be fatally flawed.

So the ONLY logical next step is to ask, as i did (and still do), for YOUR solution, as referred to in my original question at the top of this post.

You have rejected ALL aspects of my solution.

// I'm generally rather suspicious of reforms that benefit the rich ...

Reforms was the word you used, which is why i assumed it would be okay for me to use it. But then you say: "Reforms" is a word that really just means "change" with a pretty connotation.

If you use the word, why can't i in the same sense?

// You are trying to reduce this to principles again, when we are specifically talking about actual reality.

Now you are enlarging the word principle to include nearly everything i say, and that is taking it too far. Your rejection of a parental choice scheme forces me to argue with how i believe things actually work, as opposed to how you believe they work.

We have so far been unable to agree on what is "actual reality" -- that is in fact why we thrust and parry with ideas to refute the other's ideas, and claim these ideas best reflect reality. We can't both be right as many of our ideas are in direct opposition, so it's a little early to assert reality is on your side.

// You call my views "wishful thinking," but inasmuch as I can see I am the one actually addressing problems with concrete and well-thought-out solutions ...

Concerning the topic we are discussing (education), where is your well-thought-out solution? Or concrete solution, or even ANY solution at all?

You criticize me for asking you for a solution, and then you claim to have offered one yourself. Yet you HAVEN'T actually, that i can see. How am i to handle this?

// Honestly, do I really appear as idealistic and naive as all that?

Idealistic, maybe -- naive, no -- i do not believe you are naive (a word that you have applied to me and Libertarians), i just believe you are wrong. You are learned, you are strongly opinionated (me too), you are bright and articulate, and you may be a person of good will, but some of your assumptions betray holes in your knowledge OR powerful prejudice -- probably a mix of the two. You asked for my opinion, kind of, so i have been honest. You've already told me what you think of me, several times. I take no offense.

// Have I not provided for the innate selfishness of man in my examples and illustrations?

Dunno -- maybe, but that is not my interest, that is simply how YOU characterize Libertarian views -- thank you anyhow, but here is what i actually think. Humans are on a continuum of good and evil, selfish and unselfish, altruistic and sociopathic, and you will find extremes on every axis. I ask only that man's nature be taken into account, and not depend on that nature being changed.

Perhaps you believe self-interest (which extends to one's family) is equivalent to selfish. If so, please let me know, as that will prove to be a stumbling block in our debate. One is a pejorative, the other is not.

> Perhaps you didn't read my comment: > When local schools perform poorly, the rich send their kids to private schools -- something out of reach for most middle-class parents -- they're stuck, and this is wrong. No society can remove the advantages the rich and well-connected have, but in tax-supported education, there is no excuse for denying parents the right to choose a school that they believe best benefits their children.

// Oh, I read it. But again, it's a well-turned platitude.

What? WHERE is the platitude, dude?

// First of all, why would the rich pay tuition to go to their school, when the state is offering?

You probably mean: why would the rich pay TWICE? And of course i wouldn't expect them to, but i guess you think they should. From your previous comments, i'm certain you think that to be fair. I doubt there are many areas where rich and poor pay the same amount toward public school, which means the rich pay more than other taxpayers to send their kids to school.

Asking them to pony up a second time for no other reason than you believe they should is ridiculous. The smart approach is to make the rich feel welcome, and not denigrate the larger amount that they pay, else that drives them away, benefitting some other area at the expense of pushing up taxes of those left behind. Not smart.

// Second of all, a huge number of new students will be wanting to go to the private school.

Ah freedom, where is thy sting? This will happen ONLY if private schools far outshine the public school, in which case wouldn't you WANT students to go the better school? (A very serious question)

There is no reason to believe that public schools won't improve and compete. You do seem to understand a bit of supply and demand, but the role of competition in the marketplace is something you don't get at all.

Just think about how things actually work. There isn't just one brand of toothpaste, there are several, and they all compete for market share, yet some are better than others, or some have features the rest don't. Do nearly all consumers go for the best one? The same would hold true for schools.

// Third of all, the public schools will now have a much much higher number of retarded or slow or disadvantaged children: all the ones that weren't allowed into the private schools.

Why would the private schools reject the slow and disadvantaged? Are their "vouchers" not as good as those of brighter kids? Remember, every child in the school system has exactly the same buying power. You are suggesting private schools wouldn't try to get that buck? I don'think you've thought this thru.

The retarded may be another matter. I'm not convinced that you know better than i what would be best for them, but just for the sake of argument we'll say that you do and that the schools agree with you. Still, this can be worked out logistically. One way if all else fails would be to set up the system so that each school has to take a number of them on a proportional basis. The govt still calls the shots, it's just that parents get to choose the schools.

// And while it might take $3,000 a year to educate a retarded child under the current system ...

That is way off, considering the average cost of typical students is MUCH more than that.

// you need policies and serious analysis.

Here again is an unfounded accusation. I don't see how your reactionary nay-saying indicates any serious analysis on your part -- at least no more than mine.

-- RemBeau 22:43, 12 September 2008 (EDT)

// "Believe government to be fair" is a phrase that means almost nothing, since "fair" is so wildly subjective and variable.
Fair :: marked by impartiality and honesty : free from self-interest, prejudice, or favoritism.
Certainly there are situations in which determining fairness would be so complex that "wildly subjective and variable" might describe them, but there are many cases in which fairness can easily be discerned. One of those is in setting tax rates.
Fairness dictates that the same rate should apply to everyone. For a majority to enforce higher rates on a minority violates fairness in at least two ways -- it is not impartial nor is it free of self-interest.
Athenian Democracy set the tone for institutionalizing unfairness, and calling it fair; one example of many is the majority vote to force Socrates to drink hemlock. They wanted him dead, and Democracy allowed it.
There is a second argument that may have little connection to fairness -- what is "best". It could be argued (and you have) that taxing the rich at an arbitrarily higher rate than everybody else is a good idea, and beneficial, and even the best possible idea. But arguing it is fair is ridiculous. It is obviously and definitely UNfair.
It has been argued (and i have) that when it comes to education, there is no good reason not to allow all parents the right to decide which school is best for their children. Many would say the current system is "unfair" given that only the well-to-do realistically get that option -- i would expect you to agree.
Your arguments against parental choice on this issue boil down to: public schools could not compete with private schools. But they CAN -- all that is lacking is the motivation, which is lacking because there is no compelling incentive. Sure, govt functionaries can devise incentives meant to motivate public schools to provide better education, but artificial incentives haven't worked -- natural incentives, even while people complain of their "unfairness", are much more likely to get the job done. Moving toward a free marketplace provides those important natural incentives. Competition works.
Yet let's consider those cases in which public schools simply seem to be unable to compete and are inferior to private schools. Wouldn't it be best all around to allow the free market to work in this instance, so that children would get a superior education?
There is, in my opinion, a legitimate role for govt to play in this: they can (and should) set up standards that ought to be met, and metrics to measure achievement.
> ... in tax-supported education, there is no excuse for denying parents the right to choose a school that they believe best benefits their children.
// If there's no excuse to stop parents choosing the best schools for their children, then why can't parents in D.C. send their children to school in upper Manhattan, with the state footing the bill for board? Your phrase would demand such treatment.
Not at all. Geography is a natural-world factor that would make that choice totally and obviously impractical, and economic realities would clearly prevent taxpayers from having to pay for boarding the students. Those are not "excuses" in any actual sense of the word.
Excuses in the context of tax-supported education refer to arguments why parents shouldn't be allowed school choice; arguments given by those that don't want to relinquish control.
// So when you try to provide for equalizing the playing field ...
"Equalizing the playing field" tends to be in the eye of the beholder when it comes to educating children, and control-oriented majorities run roughshod over parents in the minority, whereas nobody can deny that letting parents decide for themselves gives them equal opportunity in a community. (This refers back to Heinlein's quote.)
// I agree that in an ideal world, parents should be able to send their children to the best schools, and all schools would be the best so no children would suffer.
You don't have to have an ideal world to let parents send their kids where they wish, but just that bit of freedom makes the world a better place. That every school could be the best is a logical impossibility, so i hope we won't have to wait for that. It's akin to saying, "All children should be above average".
I've heard people say, "Everybody should have access to the best doctors". Obviously the rich and well-connected get them, and that will always be true in every society under every possible system. And some will get the worst doctors, that's just reality.
// In the free market, they can do so because demand is higher so there is more room for their holy capitalistic efforts.
Capitalism is something else, and i steer clear of that word because it doesn't mean the same thing to everybody; also it elicits hysterical responses from Marxists, making it hard to continue a meaningful dialogue. The free market is understood better by almost everybody.
// And there are copper suppliers who want to maintain their supply, so they monopolize or buy controlling interests and the like in order to stymie growth.
Most industries don't have monopolies (it is illegal, and should be, to protect the free marketplace), but in those that do, the monopolists are primarily doing it to eliminate competiton so that they can set higher prices and get away with it. Maybe to stymie growth as well, but i'm not sure what you mean by that.
If govt were at all competent, Gill Bates would be in BIG trouble, and UNIX/Linux would be the most popular operating system.
-- RemBeau 21:40, 13 September 2008 (EDT)

Human intrudes briefly.

"1) We both agree (i think) that the education system is broken.

2) I assert that the best fix (probably the only fix) is to allow parental choice. "

One 1) how broken? The school system I pay for seems to work well. However... see, here in NH, where education is paid for by local property taxes, and poorer towns have no way to raise more money for their schools... What the hell "choice" would the parents in, say, Claremont, have? Send the kids to PEA? Once again, I say, Rembot, that your understanding of the issue is very narrow. You have no idea of how school systems in the US work, evidenced by your lack of being able to provide any "real world" examples (of problems, of options, of solutions, of failed solutions, etc.) ħumanUser talk:Human 23:49, 12 September 2008 (EDT)


You leave me no choice. What am i to do when you automatically concoct an argument about every aspect of every solution i propose, as if you believe the best possible education system is the one we currently have?
You're presenting me a false dichotomy. The possibilities are not just (a) you propose a poor solution or (b) you say that the current education system is the "best possible." There's also (c), which we can call "propose a solution that doesn't fall apart under a minimum of scrutiny." Something that works would probably be what you want to go for.  ;)
I'm up against faith; faith that the govt scheme will be the best and the fairest. Perhaps faith in majority rule as somehow coming up with the best system. I cannot see how that can make any sense, even in the absence of competititon and natural incentives.
Interestingly, I read back through our whole education exchange, and I don't see a single time where I said that the current system was the best or fairest. It's also interesting that you label it a "government scheme"... as if your own scheme wasn't also a governmental solution, albeit one with the fairy dust of Free Market.
I criticized the substance of your proposal. Please don't think I or anyone else is stupid enough to buy this attack on my motives.
4) You appear to believe, a priori, there is no scheme allowing parental choice that could be better than the govt-controlled system that we have. This means everything i suggest will be fatally flawed.
Nope. Massively wrong. It assumes that your scheme is not "government-controlled," even though it is. Further, you're again bringing in that little bit of spin of "choice." I'm not going to argue against "choice," if you recall: we're talking about student vouchers.
So the ONLY logical next step is to ask, as i did (and still do), for YOUR solution, as referred to in my original question at the top of this post.
Alternatively, you could propose an alternative solution - using choice or whatever else - that you consider a libertarian approach. And ideally, it could be one that works this time. Or you could even actually reply to the substance of my criticisms, rather than handwaving. You have a bevy of options.
You have rejected ALL aspects of my solution.
There's not many aspects to the two words "student vouchers." It's a very typical plan that has been proposed by many conservatives in many places in many times, and you haven't departed from it at all.
Concerning the topic we are discussing (education), where is your well-thought-out solution? Or concrete solution, or even ANY solution at all?
You criticize me for asking you for a solution, and then you claim to have offered one yourself. Yet you HAVEN'T actually, that i can see. How am i to handle this?
What's that you say? You say you want my solution again and are sick of trying to actually propose a libertarian policy that works? Oh, sure thing.
I already told you this, but you can go to the My Beliefs page to which I linked you before (or as can be found on my userpage) to see all of my positions on many issues. I actually don't have too many ideas about education, since it's not a primary focus of mine. My most concrete one is lengthening the school year for elementary schools, however.
See how that works? A problem is identified (education), and I make a proposal (lengthening the school year), backed up by evidence on that page (a study). I didn't make any speeches at all, I just used my principles to propose a fix to a problem.
Perhaps you believe self-interest (which extends to one's family) is equivalent to selfish. If so, please let me know, as that will prove to be a stumbling block in our debate. One is a pejorative, the other is not.
Self-interest works just as well. A book that may interest you is Ayn Rand's The Virtue of Selfishness.
> Perhaps you didn't read my comment: > When local schools perform poorly, the rich send their kids to private schools -- something out of reach for most middle-class parents -- they're stuck, and this is wrong. No society can remove the advantages the rich and well-connected have, but in tax-supported education, there is no excuse for denying parents the right to choose a school that they believe best benefits their children.
// Oh, I read it. But again, it's a well-turned platitude.
What? WHERE is the platitude, dude?
"There is no excuse for denying parents the right to choose a school that they believe best benefits their children." It's vague, uses spin language ("the right to choose"), and non-substantive.
You probably mean: why would the rich pay TWICE? And of course i wouldn't expect them to, but i guess you think they should. From your previous comments, i'm certain you think that to be fair. I doubt there are many areas where rich and poor pay the same amount toward public school, which means the rich pay more than other taxpayers to send their kids to school.
Asking them to pony up a second time for no other reason than you believe they should is ridiculous. The smart approach is to make the rich feel welcome, and not denigrate the larger amount that they pay, else that drives them away, benefitting some other area at the expense of pushing up taxes of those left behind. Not smart.
I take it, then, you're ceding my point? You do realize that this means that the public school total budget would then have to increase by an amount equal to the total tuition for all the private school students? This goes to my point about how taxes would have to be raised significantly.
Ah freedom, where is thy sting? This will happen ONLY if private schools far outshine the public school, in which case wouldn't you WANT students to go the better school? (A very serious question)
Almost without exception, a private school's students will perform an average of a letter grade higher than a public school's. With Catholic private schools - long-established and with a huge support system - it's two letter grades.
And yes, ideally all students would go to schools that are the "best." Ideally all students would also have flying puppies. It's getting it to work that's the problem. For example, all the slow and special needs kids get shucked to the public schools, without "choice."
There is no reason to believe that public schools won't improve and compete. You do seem to understand a bit of supply and demand, but the role of competition in the marketplace is something you don't get at all.
I actually laid it out for you already, so I do get it, I assure you. I also took pains to explain why it wasn't magic, and that there are all kinds of factors involved.
Just think about how things actually work. There isn't just one brand of toothpaste, there are several, and they all compete for market share, yet some are better than others, or some have features the rest don't. Do nearly all consumers go for the best one? The same would hold true for schools.
I understand your example. The problem is that the worst toothpaste brands go out of business. I don't want any sector of our children given over to bankruptcy, even if they can't pass private school entrance tests. I'm weird that way, I guess.
Why would the private schools reject the slow and disadvantaged? Are their "vouchers" not as good as those of brighter kids? Remember, every child in the school system has exactly the same buying power. You are suggesting private schools wouldn't try to get that buck? I don'think you've thought this thru.
Private schools have entrance requirements. My school rejected two kids for every one it admitted. Why didn't they try to "get that buck?" Those kids could have paid too, they just didn't pass the test or weren't good enough.
It's because private schools try to set a higher standard for education. People are paying a large amount for their children to go there, so they want better, not average. This is why this specialized service actually exists. If you force private schools to let in anyone, or assume (contrary to all prior and current examples) that they will suddenly let everyone in, then all you've done is eliminated the very idea of private and superior schooling.
The retarded may be another matter. I'm not convinced that you know better than i what would be best for them, but just for the sake of argument we'll say that you do and that the schools agree with you. Still, this can be worked out logistically. One way if all else fails would be to set up the system so that each school has to take a number of them on a proportional basis. The govt still calls the shots, it's just that parents get to choose the schools.
Well, in point of fact I worked in a group home and school for dually-diagnosed individuals with mental retardation and autism for five years as a resident training technician and teacher. So I know a bit about the matter. But I don't believe in fallacious claims to authority, so I will just point out that you are a crazy insane person. You say that we'll "assume the schools agree with [me]," but looking at reality is not an assumption. Private schools almost without exception do not admit the retarded. Maybe you don't know any private schools or don't go to one or whatever. If this is the case, let me assure you of this fact.
Now, as to your logistical solution. If I understand you correctly, you want to force private schools to take special needs children against their will, even though they have no experience, facilities, or desire to teach those children and their status as private businesses makes that a little hard? I thought you were a libertarian, yet you're comfortable with the government coming in and forcing private businesses to dramatically lower their standards and start serving clients they are not equipped to handle?
That is way off, considering the average cost of typical students is MUCH more than that.
I know. I was pulling a number from the air to illustrate my point.
Fair = marked by impartiality and honesty : free from self-interest, prejudice, or favoritism.
Cool. Except that impartiality, honesty, prejudice, and favoritism are all subjective things. I can quote you the dictionary definition of "delicious," too, but that doesn't make it objective.
Certainly there are situations in which determining fairness would be so complex that "wildly subjective and variable" might describe them, but there are many cases in which fairness can easily be discerned. One of those is in setting tax rates.
Fairness dictates that the same rate should apply to everyone. For a majority to enforce higher rates on a minority violates fairness in at least two ways -- it is not impartial nor is it free of self-interest.
This is a perfect example, actually, in how fairness varies wildly. I think it is fair for the burden of a tax to be distributed equally. This means a variable rate. You think it is fair to tax everyone by the same number. This means a constant rate. They're both "fair," but we arrive at entirely different approaches. Thus: you're wrong.
Athenian Democracy set the tone for institutionalizing unfairness, and calling it fair; one example of many is the majority vote to force Socrates to drink hemlock. They wanted him dead, and Democracy allowed it.
And yet they thought that was fair, too. Why are you giving me examples that illustrate my point that fairness is subjective, and argue against your own point that it is objective?
There is a second argument that may have little connection to fairness -- what is "best". It could be argued (and you have) that taxing the rich at an arbitrarily higher rate than everybody else is a good idea, and beneficial, and even the best possible idea. But arguing it is fair is ridiculous. It is obviously and definitely UNfair.
You think it is unfair, because you think fairness is determined by adhering to one number. I think the more important thing is the impact on people's lives, and that accordingly that impact should be kept as close to equal as possible while still providing for market incentive. It's neither obvious nor definite that either way is "unfair," because fairness. is. subjective.
It has been argued (and i have) that when it comes to education, there is no good reason not to allow all parents the right to decide which school is best for their children. Many would say the current system is "unfair" given that only the well-to-do realistically get that option -- i would expect you to agree.
Of course I agree that the current system is unfair. I just disagree with the "no good reason," which is why I have listed something like a dozen good reasons why your proposal won't work. It doesn't mean we don't need a solution, it just means yours is wrong.
Your arguments against parental choice on this issue boil down to: public schools could not compete with private schools. But they CAN -- all that is lacking is the motivation, which is lacking because there is no compelling incentive. Sure, govt functionaries can devise incentives meant to motivate public schools to provide better education, but artificial incentives haven't worked -- natural incentives, even while people complain of their "unfairness", are much more likely to get the job done. Moving toward a free marketplace provides those important natural incentives. Competition works.
Actually, my arguments don't boil down to that at all. It's an absurdly simplistic summary of paragraphs and paragraphs of analysis on several points, and you use it because it's easy to refute when you keep the matter so vague.
My most important point is that it would actually be impossible for public schools to compete, not that they would just fail to do so. Public schools have to take all children, while private schools can pick and choose the best. There is no reason to think private schools would change their policy of taking the best, either. Competition doesn't automatically improve everyone. It also culls the weak. And I don't want anyone culled, because we're talking about people.
Yet let's consider those cases in which public schools simply seem to be unable to compete and are inferior to private schools. Wouldn't it be best all around to allow the free market to work in this instance, so that children would get a superior education?
Sure. I guess slow kids deserve to get a much worse education than they get even now, in our broken system. If they didn't deserve it, they'd be smarter.
There is, in my opinion, a legitimate role for govt to play in this: they can (and should) set up standards that ought to be met, and metrics to measure achievement.
And apparently you also think that the government should also decide that private schools have to drop their standards. You forgot that. The courts will be busy with that one, too.
Not at all. Geography is a natural-world factor that would make that choice totally and obviously impractical, and economic realities would clearly prevent taxpayers from having to pay for boarding the students. Those are not "excuses" in any actual sense of the word.
Wait a second, your phrase doesn't have anything about "when geographically convenient." I didn't know that it included hidden caveats such as "natural-world factors" or "economic realities."
But okay, then why can't parents with working teenagers demand that the government give them jobs that are close to the good school, so that way they don't have to go to the nearest school regardless of quality just so they can make it to work on time? There are a lot of kids in that position, or similar disadvantaged positions.
Oh, I see. More hidden caveats.
See how useless a phrase like that is, even though it's good spin?
"Equalizing the playing field" tends to be in the eye of the beholder when it comes to educating children, and control-oriented majorities run roughshod over parents in the minority, whereas nobody can deny that letting parents decide for themselves gives them equal opportunity in a community. (This refers back to Heinlein's quote.)
Well, actually I can deny that. For many reasons, like the fact that it ghettoizes the slow and retarded and lowers their own standards even more than they are at now. See... um, well see all my previous reasons and denials.
You don't have to have an ideal world to let parents send their kids where they wish, but just that bit of freedom makes the world a better place. That every school could be the best is a logical impossibility, so i hope we won't have to wait for that. It's akin to saying, "All children should be above average".
I think I have demonstrated very well that it would make the world a better place for the smartest kids. Not so much for the slow.
I've heard people say, "Everybody should have access to the best doctors". Obviously the rich and well-connected get them, and that will always be true in every society under every possible system. And some will get the worst doctors, that's just reality.
But they still have medical certification and extremely intensive standards. They don't let the free market sort it out, because we're talking about people here. Turning the free market so wholly unshod on the population means that some people will be on the bottom. In medical care, that would be the people who got the worst doctors, who might miss a diagnosis. Without the evil government's cruel intervention, that would be the people who got the homeopathic therapist, who prescribe sugar water for cardiomyopathy.
See, the free market is used. But with government intervention, so that the bottom portion of people don't get the full brunt of the nastier side of the fairy dust of Free Market. This is why it works.
Now take education. If you were to propose fully funding No Child Left Behind, which will force greater accountability and competition among public schools, then that might be smart thinking. But you didn't propose that. I had to propose it, just now, after researching the topic. You would get your fairy dust, but no one would be left to its full cruelty.
Most industries don't have monopolies (it is illegal, and should be, to protect the free marketplace), but in those that do, the monopolists are primarily doing it to eliminate competiton so that they can set higher prices and get away with it. Maybe to stymie growth as well, but i'm not sure what you mean by that.
Copper doesn't just come from places that have laws or enforced laws against monopoly.
Here's a good example of what can go wrong with your fairy dust: have you ever heard of De Beers? Maybe not except in commercials, but they controlled the world diamond trade single-handedly for decades. They were selling 80% of all diamonds in the world for years. To maintain artificially high demand, they would stockpile their product. At one point, they had 5 billion dollars worth of diamonds stockpiled (http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/09/business/worldbusiness/09nocera.html?pagewanted=2&ref=business). This allowed them to continue to charge absurdly high prices for their diamonds. A good book about them is The Last Empire; it details, in part, how they bought up incredibly big tracts of land all around the world to try to keep anyone else from getting significant sources of diamonds. It is only recently, when they failed to stop the growth of independent miners in Canada (not without trying!), that they had to change their business model. They now control a very sad 40% of the world's share of diamonds. Although one might argue that any single entity controlling 40% of any single commodity in the world is still insane.
It took long decades of De Beers enriching itself many times over, before the free market went to work and brought it down to an only insane level of domination, rather than hugely insane level. The company controlled entire countries, and operated mini-fiefdoms.
So anyway, here's pretty much how I see this discussion having gone, from the beginning:
  • I asked for specific policies.
  • I asked for specific policies.
  • You gave me some. One was a very minor issue (eminent domain), one was based in your own ignorance (FECA), one was based on ephemera (gun control), and one was something I agreed with partially (legalize all drugs).
  • I pointed out the minorness of the first (it's only a problem in a few rare places like Palin's Wasilla, Alaska), pointed out your ignorance in the second (FECA doesn't take additional money from taxpayers), pointed out that you couldn't answer the only question that matters in the third (where to draw the line on gun control), and pointed out the negative side of the fourth (whole lotta people dying from crack).
  • We go back and forth until you stop replying on most of them.
  • You make a speech.
  • I point out you're just making a speech, and ask for specific policies.
  • You propose school vouchers.
  • I point out fundamental practical problems.
And here we are now, mixing speech-writing with policy. So let's try to keep on task. Quit asking for my positions on things. If you want to talk about my positions, I have an entire separate page with them on it. You can read it here. You need to directly address whether you think the government should force private schools to admit anyone, which is the crux of why I think your proposal is unworkable. I await your answer.--Tom Moorefiat justitia ruat coelum 08:14, 14 September 2008 (EDT)

Exchange Nineteen[edit]

// Self-interest works just as well.

That's ambiguous, so i'll have to ask directly: do YOU equate self-interest with selfishness, considering both of them pejoratives?

-- RemBeau 09:01, 18 September 2008 (EDT)

I equate them, but in this context consider neither of them pejorative. Maybe in a colloquial way, selfishness is pejorative ("Don't take all the grapes, it's selfish") but not when talking about motivation for mankind. To me, anyway.--Tom Moorefiat justitia ruat coelum 09:03, 18 September 2008 (EDT)
I'm in trouble already -- everytime i speak of the benefits of self-interest, you will use the word selfish, and altho you say it isn't a pejorative, you will use it that way. You are a tricky boots.
How can it be that you know i have posted, as soon as it happens? Is there an alarm i don't know about?
-- RemBeau 09:19, 18 September 2008 (EDT)
Coincidence, is all.--Tom Moorefiat justitia ruat coelum 10:59, 18 September 2008 (EDT)

Exchange Twenty[edit]

// There's not many aspects to the two words "student vouchers." It's a very typical plan that has been proposed by many conservatives in many places in many times, and you haven't departed from it at all.

You have to resort to this? It is YOU that proposed the two words "student vouchers" right at the outset. I have been careful at every turn to emphasize that what i propose is that parents have a choice as to which school their children attend. You can't conflate all non-govt approaches to school choice to one single voucher plan. You accept ONLY the complete govt scheme, and as a result reject any and every scheme where parents can decide, not just the "student vouchers" scheme.

That you may have bested a Conservative in a discussion concerning "student vouchers" means nothing in our discussion. Even if in your own mind you had bested a Libt in a school choice discussion, you have yet to make a logical argument against THIS Libt.

After all your failed attempts, all you've got is guilt by association? That might impress some on your home court, but in reality it doesn't cut it, and your attempt is obviously born of weakness.

And has it not yet dawned on you that you are defending the status quo, which i would guess you would say is the meaning of Conservatism?

// Please don't think I or anyone else is stupid enough to buy this attack on my motives. >> I'm up against faith; faith that the govt scheme will be the best and the fairest. Perhaps faith in majority rule as somehow coming up with the best system.

I can't imagine what your motives are and i don't even know if it would help if i did. What is crystal clear is that i am right concerning your faith (not motive) that no system could be as good as govt control over every aspect of education. I notice that you haven't denied my assertion.

Stupidity is not your problem; self-awareness seems to be.

As to your behavioural style, it appears to be one of control. Perhaps for you it is even an irresistible compulsion.

// I'm not going to argue against "choice," if you recall: we're talking about student vouchers.

Nice try, but you ARE arguing against choice. You can't see your way clear to ANY school system that allows parental choice.

>> You criticize me for asking you for a solution, and then you claim to have offered one yourself. Yet you HAVEN'T actually, that i can see. How am i to handle this?

// What's that you say? You say you want my solution again ...

Yes, let's hear your solution "again". Nice trick, but untrue.

And don't pretend extending the school year is a solution, or that you have offered it as one.

It has not even been part of our discussion until now, and you know that.

But as you have introduced it, let's consider it. I'm sure you are aware that it fails a criterion you try to use to reject my ideas -- it would cost more, so taxes would have to be raised.

// A book that may interest you is Ayn Rand's The Virtue of Selfishness.

Maybe you haven't purposely set a trap for me, nevertheless, it is a trap. That is because those that are anti-Libt like to equate Libertarianism with selfishness, especially those attempting to discredit Libts. I don't consider selfishness a virtue.

Altho i was never a Randian, and absolutely never an Objectivist, as a kiddy-Libt i did find her more interesting. She is definitely a bit strident and brooks no dissent -- not at all my cup of tea. There is no doubt she had a huge readership (sometimes when a list of most popular books is published, her books are set aside on the excuse it would skew the list), many times more than the number that have become Libts.

-- RemBeau 09:00, 19 September 2008 (EDT)


You have to resort to this? It is YOU that proposed the two words "student vouchers" right at the outset. I have been careful at every turn to emphasize that what i propose is that parents have a choice as to which school their children attend. You can't conflate all non-govt approaches to school choice to one single voucher plan. You accept ONLY the complete govt scheme, and as a result reject any and every scheme where parents can decide, not just the "student vouchers" scheme.
I'm not sure I would characterize myself as "resorting." I have answered every point or argument you have made - ably, or at least so I think. I'm not exactly hurting for material here, after all.
I agree absolutely that you can't conflate all approaches to "school choice" to a single voucher plan. Of course, the main problem is that you haven't proposed anything at all that departs from that single voucher plan so tiresomely espoused by many others. If you want me to argue about Awesome Libertarian School Choice, you're going to have to tell me what it entails. Despite what you claim, I am perfectly willing to consider any alternative you choose to propose.
That you may have bested a Conservative in a discussion concerning "student vouchers" means nothing in our discussion. Even if in your own mind you had bested a Libt in a school choice discussion, you have yet to make a logical argument against THIS Libt.
What about the argument I have repeated ad nauseum that has gone unanswered, and that I specifically asked you to refute in your next response? I said at the end of our last exchange, "You need to directly address whether you think the government should force private schools to admit anyone, which is the crux of why I think your proposal is unworkable."
You don't do that. You don't really address any of my objections. The same pattern persists: you propose something unworkable, I point out the glaring errors, and after one or two exchanges you suddenly turn back to my motives and making speeches. Notice how almost nothing in your response has to do with the specific policy you're supposed to be defending, whereas virtually all of my response is on-topic.
I realize you have limited time, but perhaps you could use it a little more efficiently by talking about the actual item of discussion.
After all your failed attempts, all you've got is guilt by association? That might impress some on your home court, but in reality it doesn't cut it, and your attempt is obviously born of weakness.
Yeah, it's true. I have really been flailing here. I mean, for example I had to admit that I didn't actually understand FECA (or even know what it was), and on another occasion here I had to confess that I actually couldn't take a policy position on gun control at all. It's almost like my vague principles and beliefs are entirely useless when put to an actual test of usefulness when it comes to human life.
Oh, wait. That's not me.
And has it not yet dawned on you that you are defending the status quo, which i would guess you would say is the meaning of Conservatism?
I'm not defending the status quo. I have said several times that the system is broken. Our schools are not doing fine.
See, you think that just because I think your plan is wrong and unworkable, it means that I think things are peachy. That is a pretty absurd assumption on your part. If you were bleeding and I poured salad dressing on you, does your insistence that my treatment won't help you mean that you are okay with bleeding?
I can't imagine what your motives are and i don't even know if it would help if i did. What is crystal clear is that i am right concerning your faith (not motive) that no system could be as good as govt control over every aspect of education. I notice that you haven't denied my assertion.
I deny it. Now maybe - and I know this is asking a lot - could you propose a workable alternative? I know that in a debate over useful libertarian policies it's very rude of me to keep asking for useful libertarian policies (or for you to defend the ludicrous ones you present), but I'm just that kind of crazy loose cannon, as I said.
Nice try, but you ARE arguing against choice. You can't see your way clear to ANY school system that allows parental choice.
No, I just don't know of any workable system that functions in a manner like you have proposed. It's not that I dislike the idea; I see many benefits. So if you meet someone that actually knows something about economics or schools, could you ask them if they have a working idea?
'Cause libertarians apparently have nothing.
Yes, let's hear your solution "again". Nice trick, but untrue.
Actually, the "again" referred to your repeated pattern of demanding my own solutions to problems. I know it sucks to be reminded of this, but you're a libertarian. You originally intended to propose and defend libertarian solutions. For some reason, however, you somehow try to accomplish this by demanding my solutions instead.
And don't pretend extending the school year is a solution, or that you have offered it as one.
It has not even been part of our discussion until now, and you know that.
I don't really have a very good solution. I didn't intend to propose or defend any, actually. Again, this was supposed to be about libertarian policies. You were going to present some practical examples, since it was my opinion that none such existed.
But as you have introduced it, let's consider it. I'm sure you are aware that it fails a criterion you try to use to reject my ideas -- it would cost more, so taxes would have to be raised.
Yes, it would cost more - something on the order of 15% more, if I remember correctly. Yes, taxes would have to be raised.
I did not raise the increased cost as the sole criterion for rejection of school vouchers, it was merely to rebut your assertion that the cost of education would lower. The main reason your plan is a poor one is because it would abandon the slow and disabled, ghettoizing them. Unless you want to try to force private schools to eliminate their standards. That was the primary and salient objection I have repeatedly raised, yet somehow you keep missing it. Luckily this is the sixth time or so I am repeating it, so you will now have plenty of chances to see it and maybe someday address it.
Maybe you haven't purposely set a trap for me, nevertheless, it is a trap. That is because those that are anti-Libt like to equate Libertarianism with selfishness, especially those attempting to discredit Libts. I don't consider selfishness a virtue.
Altho i was never a Randian, and absolutely never an Objectivist, as a kiddy-Libt i did find her more interesting. She is definitely a bit strident and brooks no dissent -- not at all my cup of tea. There is no doubt she had a huge readership (sometimes when a list of most popular books is published, her books are set aside on the excuse it would skew the list), many times more than the number that have become Libts.
I wasn't trying to trap you. I was trying to recommend to you a book I thought you might find interesting and enjoy. You should read it sometime. Or read anything, actually.
Oh, and once again: You need to directly address whether you think the government should force private schools to admit anyone, which is the crux of why I think your proposal is unworkable. Also, there's some nonsense group called the Supreme Court with a bizarre 80-year-old precedent that would seem to work against it.
Unless, of course, you want to insist I oppose all school choice, accuse me of being compulsively controlling, and suggest I am laying traps for you. It's all cool with me.--Tom Moorefiat justitia ruat coelum 10:00, 19 September 2008 (EDT)>> The retarded may be another matter. I'm not convinced that you know better than i what would be best for them, but just for the sake of argument we'll say that you do and that the schools agree with you. Still, this can be worked out logistically. One way if all else fails would be to set up the system so that each school has to take a number of them on a proportional basis. The govt still calls the shots, it's just that parents get to choose the schools.

Exchange Twentyone[edit]

// Well, in point of fact I worked in a group home and school for dually-diagnosed individuals with mental retardation and autism for five years as a resident training technician and teacher. So I know a bit about the matter. But I don't believe in fallacious claims to authority, so I will just point out that you are a crazy insane person. You say that we'll "assume the schools agree with [me]," but looking at reality is not an assumption. Private schools almost without exception do not admit the retarded. Maybe you don't know any private schools or don't go to one or whatever. If this is the case, let me assure you of this fact.

// Now, as to your logistical solution. If I understand you correctly, you want to force private schools to take special needs children against their will, even though they have no experience, facilities, or desire to teach those children and their status as private businesses makes that a little hard? I thought you were a libertarian, yet you're comfortable with the government coming in and forcing private businesses to dramatically lower their standards and start serving clients they are not equipped to handle?

You don't understand me correctly.

You make it sound like govt force would have to be involved with schools already in existence. And where is it written that private schools couldn't hire those (like yourself) that have experience dealing with SE kids?

// You need to directly address whether you think the government should force private schools to admit anyone, which is the crux of why I think your proposal is unworkable.

There is no reason that schools can't be expected to sign a contract to agree with certain rules in order to receive taxpayer funds, and one such could be a provision for special needs kids. Okay, i have directly addressed what you consider to be the crux of your argument.

But why would it be necessary to educate special education children in the same facility as other kids?

At the risk of giving you something else to keep crowing about, i'll admit you know more about those SE kids than i, so i'll have to ask you some basic questions concerning them. Aren't there some kids that school systems couldn't or shouldn't try to educate? How is the line drawn? Is community funding considered a restraint in the current system? How can it be that an SE kid can handle a longer day of being taught than can other kids?

In a given school year i assume it is unreasonable to believe that SE kids will learn as much material, no matter how many hours of instruction they get. Am i wrong?

>> You are suggesting private schools wouldn't try to get that buck?

// Private schools have entrance requirements. My school rejected two kids for every one it admitted. Why didn't they try to "get that buck?" Those kids could have paid too, they just didn't pass the test or weren't good enough.

And what would prevent schools from opening up to get that money that the other school rejected? In a free sciety there are ALWAYS entrepreneurs eager to provide sevices for money. Now it is true that over-regulation can can make it impossible to do business, but that isn't the case here, is it?

>> What? WHERE is the platitude, dude?

// "There is no excuse for denying parents the right to choose a school that they believe best benefits their children." It's vague, uses spin language ("the right to choose"), and non-substantive.

Platitude = A platitude is a trite, meaningless, biased or prosaic statement that is presented as if it were significant and original.

At the VERY least, you'll have to admit that i did not present it as original. It's a principle, one that is well known, not a platitude.

// It's because private schools try to set a higher standard for education. People are paying a large amount for their children to go there, so they want better, not average. This is why this specialized service actually exists. If you force private schools to let in anyone, or assume (contrary to all prior and current examples) that they will suddenly let everyone in, then all you've done is eliminated the very idea of private and superior schooling.

Implicit in what you say is that schools can only be superior if they have superior students, which would mean no schools can do a better job with the same students. I cannot accept that. Just as some teachers are better than others, so could schools be.

// I realize you have limited time, but perhaps you could use it a little more efficiently by talking about the actual item of discussion.

Well, don't waste time trying to nullify my arguments by naming them platitudes, for instance. It lowers efficiency when i have to clear them up.

// You should read it sometime. Or read anything, actually.

Actually, i read quite a bit, and i don't know that you read more than i, nor do you know. If this is a jab at my opinions on the assumption yours are better than mine, it's not very convincing.

Sure, this is the kind of thing that some here would enjoy since it's at my expense, but it deserves a response. Now if this is an example of your humor, then great, i like trading sarcasm -- in which case you may ignore ny critique of your comment -- cool.

// I don't really have a very good solution. I didn't intend to propose or defend any, actually.

This is a fine mess you've got us in, Ollie. You reject nearly all my ideas and aren't willing to present your own.

// Are... are you under the impression you are winning this discussion? I gotta get me some of that fairy dust high.

And i was certain you were using my share as well as yours. So you're sniffing airplane glue instead, i guess.

If i had some fairy dust, i'd sprinkle it on the segment of the economy that is not free marketplace.

// I'm not defending the status quo. I have said several times that the system is broken. Our schools are not doing fine.

Hmm, okay. Being that you are (or have been) part of the system, one might wonder why you don't have some suggestions to offer.

// I know this is asking a lot - could you propose a workable alternative?

Ha. You reject any and every alternative i propose, as they all are based on wresting some control from govt. That doesn't make them unworkable. If you are not, as you claim, defending the status quo (total govt control), it's hard to understand your criticisms of the schemes i propose.

-- RemBeau 12:35, 21 September 2008 (EDT)


You don't understand me correctly.
You make it sound like govt force would have to be involved with schools already in existence. And where is it written that private schools couldn't hire those (like yourself) that have experience dealing with SE kids?
I don't understand you correctly because you don't really explain yourself. The above needs a heck of a lot of explanation. Are you suggesting that the government start up new private schools, and exclude the old ones from the voucher system? Or will it just be that the new schools are forced to comply with rules and have no standards while the old ones can ignore the rules and retain their standards?
You're right, there's nothing to stop schools from hiring special needs teachers and teaching special needs kids. But they don't want to do that. Otherwise they could do so just as easily right now.
There is no reason that schools can't be expected to sign a contract to agree with certain rules in order to receive taxpayer funds, and one such could be a provision for special needs kids. Okay, i have directly addressed what you consider to be the crux of your argument.
So as a requirement for being permitted to receive the same federal funds as every other school, a school would have to agree to discard its standards? And you don't see a problem with that, either ethically or judicially?
But why would it be necessary to educate special education children in the same facility as other kids?
I am not sure that every school on the continent would be pleased about trying to find new land and build a new building. There is a certain element of practicality here.
At the risk of giving you something else to keep crowing about, i'll admit you know more about those SE kids than i, so i'll have to ask you some basic questions concerning them. Aren't there some kids that school systems couldn't or shouldn't try to educate? How is the line drawn? Is community funding considered a restraint in the current system? How can it be that an SE kid can handle a longer day of being taught than can other kids?
No, there's no child that should be given up on. Even the profoundly retarded (generally nonverbal, can't care for themselves) are still capable of learning to meet some of their own needs and improving the quality of their life.
Right now, funding varies widely from state to state. In the 80s, when an expose by Geraldo revealed that hundreds of special needs individuals were being kept in sanitoriums under appalling conditions (see Willowbrook), most states were motivated to shift their special needs people into home or smaller facility environments, with care and education paid for with a generosity that shifts depending on the location.
Special needs kids generally go to school the same sort of hours as typical children.
In a given school year i assume it is unreasonable to believe that SE kids will learn as much material, no matter how many hours of instruction they get. Am i wrong?
Of course you're right. They don't learn the same sort of things. For some individuals, learning to read is the goal when they're in high school. It would be ludicrous to hold them to the same standards, because most clinically retarded individuals aren't capable of those standards. They have their own goals.
And what would prevent schools from opening up to get that money that the other school rejected? In a free sciety there are ALWAYS entrepreneurs eager to provide sevices for money. Now it is true that over-regulation can can make it impossible to do business, but that isn't the case here, is it?
What prevents schools from doing that now? There are slow kids who could still pay. Have you thought this through at all?
Implicit in what you say is that schools can only be superior if they have superior students, which would mean no schools can do a better job with the same students. I cannot accept that. Just as some teachers are better than others, so could schools be.
Incorrect. That is one way in which schools can excel. Certainly materials and teachers and administration also matter, so two schools with identical students could help them to varying degrees. But the abilities of the students are also extremely important.
This is a fine mess you've got us in, Ollie. You reject nearly all my ideas and aren't willing to present your own.
I know, it's almost like this discussion was explicitly and purposefully intended to examine libertarian policy positions or something! Crazy stuff!
Hmm, okay. Being that you are (or have been) part of the system, one might wonder why you don't have some suggestions to offer.
I don't pretend to have all the answers. I don't know the solution to the education problem. I think it's a little unreasonable to assume that every citizen (who is "part of the system") must automatically know how to improve or fix it, don't you?
You're the one who brought it up and proposed the voucher plan as a libertarian policy. When I critique it, why do you keep trying to insist that its validity depends on whether or not I have a better plan? Don't you realize that your plan can be bad all on its own?
Ha. You reject any and every alternative i propose, as they all are based on wresting some control from govt. That doesn't make them unworkable. If you are not, as you claim, defending the status quo (total govt control), it's hard to understand your criticisms of the schemes i propose.
I have nothing against decreased government control. In many cases, it would be a good thing. And that's not why they're unworkable. I have given specific and detailed reasons why your voucher plan wouldn't work, at great length.
The reason I criticize the voucher system you have proposed is because it is a lousy plan. And then I give reasons why it is lousy. You try to insist that I am somehow ideologically opposed here, but I have been nothing but rational and forthright as I list the flaws of your plan.
Now, back to topic: do you think you might be able to cogently sum up your plan's intentions for educating the slow and special needs? You have alluded above to forcing schools to sign contracts abandoning their standards if they want federal money, and you have also alluded to every school in the country building new facilities, and you have also alluded to thinking that some students just shouldn't be educated. Please state with some small amount of detail exactly what you think should be done, please. Once again, this is the crux of the disagreement.--Tom Moorefiat justitia ruat coelum 19:44, 21 September 2008 (EDT)

Exchange TwentyTwo[edit]

// Are you suggesting that the government start up new private schools, [ NO ] ... Or will it just be that the new schools are forced to comply with rules and have no standards while the old ones can ignore the rules and retain their standards? [ NO ]

Sigh. I cannot for the life of me figure out how you could look at things that way.

Neither. It is a fact that the FM always manages to start new businesses, rescue old ones, and restructure, even if you can't see how they do it. (In the absence of impossible govt regulations, of course.) Schools (new or old) can reject tax funds if they wish, but if they voluntarily accept them, they would probably have to agree to some terms and meet certain standards -- and i don't see how they could ignore the rules -- also, i don't see how how this would necessarily lead to a diminishment of their standards. Nor do i see why govt would have to "start up new private schools".

// You're right, there's nothing to stop schools from hiring special needs teachers and teaching special needs kids. But they don't want to do that. Otherwise they could do so just as easily right now.

They may not WANT to do that, but are you saying they wouldn't in order to get funds? That is, if they have to choose between meeting requirements or not getting those funds?

// So as a requirement for being permitted to receive the same federal funds as every other school, a school would have to agree to discard its standards?

I do not understand this, at ALL.

And i guess i'll have to before we can continue. This and the two issues above.

// a school would have to agree to discard its standards? And you don't see a problem with that, either ethically or judicially?

This is part of the one above, and i don't get it or don't believe it. It depends on what you mean by it. I do get it that i would have a problem with discarding important standards.

// I don't pretend to have all the answers. I don't know the solution to the education problem. I think it's a little unreasonable to assume that every citizen (who is "part of the system") must automatically know how to improve or fix it, don't you?

It's not that i expect you to have all the answers, or a complete solution, or that you would "automatically know how to improve or fix it", but you are a smart feller, and i think it reasonable you would have some ideas worth mentioning. Somebody has to try.

Once upon a time in the USA, kids learned a lot more in schools, so there is no good reason that it is worse now, nor is it unlikely that we couldn't at least teach kids as well as before.

-- RemBeau 08:51, 22 September 2008 (EDT)


Neither. It is a fact that the FM always manages to start new businesses, rescue old ones, and restructure, even if you can't see how they do it. (In the absence of impossible govt regulations, of course.) Schools (new or old) can reject tax funds if they wish, but if they voluntarily accept them, they would probably have to agree to some terms and meet certain standards -- and i don't see how they could ignore the rules -- also, i don't see how how this would necessarily lead to a diminishment of their standards. Nor do i see why govt would have to "start up new private schools".
They may not WANT to do that, but are you saying they wouldn't in order to get funds? That is, if they have to choose between meeting requirements or not getting those funds?
Aha, so I have finally dragged it out of you!
Now, this is built from some trial and error, because trying to get you to propose details is like pulling a donkey's teeth, but it seems that you are advocating that in your voucher system, the following would occur: a certain dollar amount would be assigned to each child. Their parents could choose any school, public or private, to which their child could attend. In return for being eligible for receiving these vouchers, schools would have to begin accepting applicants from the whole spectrum of ability, discarding their entrance exams and proficiency requirements. If they do not do these things, then they cannot accept vouchers.
Is this a fair summation of your proposal? It's a bit more expansive than your proposal of "why shouldn't parents be allowed to divert those funds to the schools of their choosing," but with excruciating effort we are finally managing to work out an actual coherent policy proposal.
If you see a problem or an addendum you wish to make, then please restate your proposal in a similar level of detail.
// I don't pretend to have all the answers. I don't know the solution to the education problem. I think it's a little unreasonable to assume that every citizen (who is "part of the system") must automatically know how to improve or fix it, don't you?
It's not that i expect you to have all the answers, or a complete solution, or that you would "automatically know how to improve or fix it", but you are a smart feller, and i think it reasonable you would have some ideas worth mentioning. Somebody has to try.
I'm sorry, I don't have answers to every problem. I think I know a middling bit about policy concerns in the U.S., but I don't have solutions for every one. I do have some ideas, which I have mentioned (a longer school day in elementary school, and full funding for NCLB). But if you recall, that's sort of beyond the scope of this discussion. If you want to discuss my ideas, I have a page (linked multiple times) where you can do that. This is specifically and deliberately where I wanted to discuss your libertarian proposals, where there were few interlocutors and no wiggle room.
And once again, please examine my summation above and approve or fix it.--Tom Moorefiat justitia ruat coelum 10:18, 22 September 2008 (EDT)

Exchange TwentyThree[edit]

// trying to get you to propose details is like pulling a donkey's teeth

Your insistence on details is mere pettifogging, and obviously so. Rather than concede that there is absolutely NO good reason why parents shouldn't be allowed to select a school for their kids, you quibble about minutiae.

You imply that if a free choice system (forget vouchers) can't come up with a superior way to handle retarded kids than the way they are currently being handled, you reject it. Here are some problems with that line of thinking:

1) Is is not the responsibility of schools set up to teach reading, writing, and mathematics, to teach those that can't learn those subjects -- it's just not reasonable to insist they be included. You may WANT them included, and believe that is the BEST way to meet to their needs, but it is not the ONLY way.

2) Those SE kids are by far a minority, and by concentrating resources on them, you may be diminishing the education of the majority of kids.

3) There is no perfect way to educate SE kids, nor is there a perfect way to educate anybody.

4) When considering how to best help SE kids, lines will have to be drawn. There is never going to be enough money to pay for the nearly infinite needs of the most profoundly retarded in a community.

5) The assumption that SE kids have to be located in the same buildings as other kids is wrong.

Stop and think about it -- does it even make ANY sense at all that government gets to decide, against a parent's will, which school their kids have to attend?

-- RemBeau 08:06, 26 September 2008 (EDT)

Your insistence on details is mere pettifogging, and obviously so. Rather than concede that there is absolutely NO good reason why parents shouldn't be allowed to select a school for their kids, you quibble about minutiae.
Details are how governing is actually done, and policy should be decided. It's very easy to spout catchphrases about "school choice," but to actually implement it... there's the rub.
1) Is is not the responsibility of schools set up to teach reading, writing, and mathematics, to teach those that can't learn those subjects -- it's just not reasonable to insist they be included. You may WANT them included, and believe that is the BEST way to meet to their needs, but it is not the ONLY way.
You're assuming a huge amount. I never insisted on unreasonable standards. If someone is profoundly retarded, it would be foolish to attempt to ever teach them calculus. And I never suggested any such thing. But they are and should be held to some standards, such as trying to teach them to read. That is hardly unreasonable to ask, rather than abandoning them to the Bad School.
2) Those SE kids are by far a minority, and by concentrating resources on them, you may be diminishing the education of the majority of kids.
I do not suggest "concentrating resources on them" as some sort of guideline, only attempting to help educate them. Of necessity, this costs more for the disabled. I suppose it's true that devoting resources to them does diminish the education of the majority. But that also is true for the slower kids, who also cost more to educate. So I guess my question is: where do you draw the line? At what point are you willing to give up on a child... an IQ of 70? 50? When are they not worth the expense, to you?
3) There is no perfect way to educate SE kids, nor is there a perfect way to educate anybody.
I know. Thus, I am not demanding a perfect way. Just a way that is at least as good as the current system. If you proposed coating all children in butter, I would be making a similar criticism: it's not as good as the current one.
4) When considering how to best help SE kids, lines will have to be drawn. There is never going to be enough money to pay for the nearly infinite needs of the most profoundly retarded in a community.
Nearly infinite? That's a pretty tall order. A line is certainly drawn, with detailed systems worked out for state aid in each area. And I assure you, it is nothing like "nearly infinite."
You really seem to just be advocating that we don't educate the mentally retarded. Is that your assertion?
5) The assumption that SE kids have to be located in the same buildings as other kids is wrong.
Of course it's wrong. They can easily be located in other buildings. In fact, we can build a space station and educate them there. There are all kinds of amazing possibilities, it's just that those darn schools often have a hard time building new facilities. Bronx P.S. 214 just got a basketball last week, though, so the funds for buying or building a whole new set of facilities should be rolling in at any time. After all, it's entirely reasonable to demand every school in the country create a new building.
Stop and think about it -- does it even make ANY sense at all that government gets to decide, against a parent's will, which school their kids have to attend?
Why, yes, of course I agree with your vague sentiment. Everyone agrees with vague sentiments expressed that way. If I could pass a law that made that vague sentiment enforceable, I would be passing around petitions right now.
Unfortunately, we live in the real world. And while the vague idea is a good one, it has to be implemented in a plan that works.
A certain dollar amount would be assigned to each child. Their parents could choose any school, public or private, to which their child could attend. In return for being eligible for receiving these vouchers, schools would have to begin accepting applicants from the whole spectrum of ability, discarding their entrance exams and proficiency requirements. If they do not do these things, then they cannot accept vouchers.
Is this a fair summation of your proposal?
If you see a problem or an addendum you wish to make, then please restate your proposal in a similar level of detail.--Tom Moorefiat justitia ruat coelum 08:20, 26 September 2008 (EDT)
Your summation of my ideas isn't quite right. My own is just below.
-- RemBeau 22:58, 27 September 2008 (EDT)

Exchange TwentyFour: school choice proposal[edit]

A school choice proposal:

1) Parents could choose any school, public or private, to which their child could attend.

2) If the school chosen is public, it would receive 100% of that child's share of the tax revenue. If private, 90%.

3) Private schools could determine their own entrance requirements. Public, same as before this plan goes into effect. (This way, no child would be without a school.)

4) The government continues to collect taxes and disperse funds for education.

5) The government entity that determines student achievement requirements for each category of students will still have that authority.

6) The government entity that determines the number of student categories and the share of tax revenue assigned to each category will still have that authority.

There are no provisions that determine whether private schools may buy, rent, or build schools.

Friendly amendment - some idea (??) different language.
There are no provisions that would deny private schools from buying, renting, or building schools.

Provision (2) has the potential of saving taxpayers money.

I am the author of this school choice proposal (it was not copied from anywhere) and i reserve the right to finetune it, considering this to be my first draft.

NB: I have nowhere referred to this as a school voucher plan.

There is certainly no good reason to insist that government gets to decide, against a parent's will, which school their kids have to attend.

-- RemBeau 22:58, 27 September 2008 (EDT)

The above copied to Debate:School choice free-for-all to jumpstart the discussion ħumanUser talk:Human 18:09, 29 September 2008 (EDT)
Thank you for obliging me.
So there we have it: "Private schools could determine their own entrance requirements." I see you've backed away from your proposal to tie funding to removal of entrance requirements. And this leaves us with the glaring problem of public schools ending up with all of the slow and disabled kids. Let's hope that 10% additional funding is sufficient to counteract ghettoization. Do you have any backing for those numbers, or are they arbitrary placeholders?
This is a decent voucher plan at least - but it is a school voucher program, even if you (for some reason) seem to be avoiding calling it that. It remains with the same glaring flaws I have pointed out, ending with a long and terrible decline for public schooling as a whole in competition with an advantaged private sector. And it was the best you could manage for a libertarian policy position after enormous haranguing and efforts on my part. I am pretty much satisfied with the outcome of this discussion, so I think it is meet now to declare that anyone who has held back comments should feel free to ask them now.
My thesis has been, and continues to be, that libertarian values are ill-formed and vague, generally serving as the topic of lengthy novels by Ayn Rand and Terry Goodkind, but in no way suited for application in the real world. Even Rem, a libertarian of his own admission, has confessed much the same thing, admitting "Libts have VERY few [policies] in comparison, and are proud to trot out principles instead" (Exchange 13). What we saw here was an excruciating exchange of great length, where a handful of policies were brought out as "libertarian" and either revealed to be absurd, overblown, or laughably based in ignorance. Eventually, a single policy of school vouchers was advocated as a libertarian policy, though they have long been a mainstay not of libertarianism, but of mainstream conservatism. And the libertarian showed himself unable to really defend it effectively, I believe.
It has at least been entertaining for me, and occasionally for a few watchers, I think. Thank you very much for obliging me to such great length and detail, Rem, well beyond the call of duty. You have done very well, all things considered, and I appreciate it. If there was something else you wanted to discuss, I will be happy to do so, but otherwise I am entirely satisfied and finished. Thank you.--Tom Moorefiat justitia ruat coelum 23:31, 27 September 2008 (EDT)
"The government continues to collect taxes and disperse funds for education." I have more to say, but Rem, you really have no clue as to how education is funded in some of the US. Where I live, the "government" is our local school board (The Oyster River School Board), who we elect, locally. The three towns involved coerce us at gunpoint into paying taxes - even those of us without children - to pay the budget that "we" decide upon each year. The only higher levels of gov't involved are basic state standards, and that silly "Every Teacher Left Behind" federal law. Oh, shoot, I forgot. You hate teachers because they belong to Unions!!! ħumanUser talk:Human 01:24, 28 September 2008 (EDT)
// "The government continues to collect taxes and disperse funds for education." I have more to say, but Rem, you really have no clue as to how education is funded in some of the US.
SOME of the USA perhaps doesn't have a system in which "The government continues to collect taxes and disperse funds for education"? -- Do YOU know of any such place?
// The three towns involved coerce us at gunpoint into paying taxes - even those of us without children - to pay the budget that "we" decide upon each year.
If you're saying Democracy is a sham and a fraud, say no more -- you've made the sale. Forgive me for exposing possibly the only Liberal bone in my body, but i'm in favor of compulsory education, which necessarily implies compulsory funding.
// The only higher levels of gov't involved are basic state standards, and that silly "Every Teacher Left Behind" federal law.
Are you referring to the Bush/Kennedy bill? I've never looked into it, but i don't doubt it's mostly wishful thinking, coming from Los Federales, and likely coercion is part of the package.
// Oh, shoot, I forgot. You hate teachers because they belong to Unions!!!
You is a Silly-Billy. I am not a hater. You seem to live in a world where there is no continuum between love and hate.
-- RemBeau 09:49, 28 September 2008 (EDT)

Exchange TwentyFive: Final Words?[edit]

// Do you have any backing for those numbers, or are they arbitrary placeholders?

I suspect you are referring to the 100% and 90% i offered -- if so, they are my invention, but not thoughtlessly conceived if that's what you mean by arbitrary placeholders. I could perhaps have backed them up had this been someone else's plan, but it wasn't.

Here's how i arrived at those numbers. Given the effect of the free market on prices, i felt safe in assuming private schools would be effective and profitable at less than 80% of a typical public school's charges. The 90% i offered allows a safety margin and also might help to alleviate your fear that public schools would have no chance of competing.

I WANT the public schools to be a viable option. I have absolutely no interest in putting them out of business, i just think it's bad for the goals of education when they have a state-sanctioned virtual monopoly.

// I see you've backed away from your proposal to tie funding to removal of entrance requirements.

Tom, you are a hoot. Backing away is a ridiculous way to describe my effort to offer you alternatives in the hope you will find one acceptable, or at least not objectionable.

// And this leaves us with the glaring problem of public schools ending up with all of the slow and disabled kids.

I see this criticism as generally unfounded, and even in cases where it turned out to be true, hardly a problem, and certainly not glaring.

// Let's hope that 10% additional funding is sufficient to counteract ghettoization.

Hmm. I'm not sure which way you would adjust that figure, but it would probably be okay if you did.

// This is a decent voucher plan at least - but it is a school voucher program, even if you (for some reason) seem to be avoiding calling it that.

The reason i AM avoiding letting you pin that term on my plan is that you early on signaled that you would disparage any "voucher" plan by deeming it Conservative, something that is no doubt an effective ploy in Liberal circles.

And you have returned to that "guilt by association" fallacy two or three times, including in your current post.

// It remains with the same glaring flaws I have pointed out, ending with a long and terrible decline for public schooling as a whole in competition with an advantaged private sector.

You have got to get over your mindset that the public school is sacred somehow, or a national treasure, or an institution automatically preferable to alternative schools.

The focus SHOULD be on educating kids in the most effective way possible, and if competition does the job, so be it. And i promise you, many public schools will improve dramatically because of the competiton, and that should please you.

// And it was the best you could manage for a libertarian policy position after enormous haranguing and efforts on my part.

Ah, you're a better man for it. The effort will build your character ... the haranguing, meh.

It is a certainty that my miserable Libertarian best will always fall short of your superior standards.

// My thesis has been, and continues to be, that libertarian values are ill-formed and vague, ...

I'm shocked, i'm stunned and abashed, that you haven't been persuaded to join the Libt throng and publicly denounce statist views and swear to follow a 12-step program that could help you overcome your formerly wicked habits.

// Even Rem, a libertarian of his own admission [!wow!], has confessed much the same thing, admitting "Libts have VERY few [policies] in comparison, and are proud to trot out principles instead" (Exchange 13).

Guilty as charged, and proud and unrepentent. To whom are you addressing this plea? Some invisible kingdom of jurists wearing powdered wigs?

My principles can beat up your policies any day of the week!

There is something i will admit: i have flexed muscles and improved them by concocting a specific policy based on Libertarian principle. (Freedom works.)

// What we saw here was an excruciating exchange of great length, where a handful of policies were brought out as "libertarian" and either revealed to be absurd, overblown, or laughably based in ignorance.

You are indeed a piece of work.

// And the libertarian showed himself unable to really defend it effectively, I believe.

You have raised self-deception to the level of an art form.

// It has at least been entertaining for me, and occasionally for a few watchers, I think.

I don't know about those watchers ... they probably dozed off by episode ten.

But yes, entertaining for me as well. Thinking suits my perverse nature. I don't post unless i'm in the mood.

// Thank you very much for obliging me to such great length and detail, Rem, well beyond the call of duty. You have done very well, all things considered, and I appreciate it.

Ah, Dr. Jekyl. ... Very gracious, i must say.

// If there was something else you wanted to discuss, I will be happy to do so,

Doubtless some topic will pop up, and if you really had as much fun as i had, we'll start a new page.

-- RemBeau 09:20, 28 September 2008 (EDT)

In conclusion, Rem's proposal in X24 was copied by me to Debate:School choice free-for-all to jumpstart the discussion (Tom, if you want to copy your comments over there please do so, I tried to keep it simple.) ħumanUser talk:Human 18:10, 29 September 2008 (EDT)