Member Rara Avis
It is the entire notion that every person is not afforded the basic rights of existence with which I disagree. It is not charity that we extend -- and one does not have to earn these rights by paying insurance or serving in the military -- our rights are our rights.
I agree completely, Reb. I'll even go you one better. The Bill of Rights doesn't afford us any rights at all, it merely acknowledges them and guarantees the government won't impede them.
And therein, I think, lies the fallacy with your argument.
The Bill of Rights guarantees the right to bear arms. It doesn't give a man a gun. In fact, I can't think of a single right guaranteed in our Constitution that gives an American anything at all. It's not a list of entitlements, nor do I think the framers ever meant it to become one.
Under Mosaic Law -- a poor person had the RIGHT (not charity) to enter any field and eat his fill. In our non-agrarian society though we have no such measure to be afforded unless an undue burden be placed on the grocer.
Why is it more of an undue burden on the grocer, Reb, than it was the farmer? Hint: Who gets to define poor person?
Why is it that a woman is afforded the protection of the Commander in Chief from those who would do harm to life and limb -- from all enemies foriegn and domestic -- but we do not protect her from the same threat to life and limb if it is microscopic?
We do, Reb. We provide adequate sewers and clean water. We subsidize research that produces polio (and now, it seems, e.coli) vaccines. I think we do a lot to guard against microscopic invaders.
Do you think we should protect Americans from their own bad choices? If they don't want to drink the clean water, should we force them? Should we assign someone to monitor their health choices? At what point do we protect people, not from invaders, but from themselves?
I honestly don't see how we can talk about health care without answering these kinds of questions first.
There is no unique comparative or competitive value to any modern industrialized society with the exception of natural resources -- everything else is parity with the exception of the price of labour -- if we're just going to race to the bottom there's little point in running.
Is there really a choice, Reb? I think we're running whether we want to or not.
I don't see it as a race to the bottom, though. I think natural marketing forces -- that free trade you like -- will raise the bottom just as much as it lowers the top. Yea, it sucks if you're already on top. Not so much if you're on the bottom.
Why does John Gault get to name his price? But if John Janitor names his price you call it demanding an entitlement. He gets no respect.
I think we must be talking in circles, Reb. My emphasis was on the word demand, both for Gault and for Janitor. In Rand's philosophy both get to "name his price," but both must also be willing to accept no for an answer. Naming your price doesn't always mean someone is willing to pay it.
John Gault gets to name his price. John Janitor also gets to name his price. Neither of them gets to force their price on another. It only becomes an entitlement when one of them wants to pass a law to get his way, substituting force for negotiation and cooperation.
Rand's treatement of the Twentieth Century Motor company belies respect for people (even though you say you trust people Ron -- you don't seem to either) because when there is a system of pay structured to meet needs instead of the merits of work -- the workers become deparaved and unmotivated. If the objectivists only trust in people is to try to stay alive then it is no more trust than any other world view.
I can only speak to my understanding of Rand's philosophy, Reb, and at this point we're getting into subtleties. Nonetheless, I don't think I would be far off the mark if I was to say that Rand trusts people to follow their nature. That's not always the same as trusting them to do "what's right," as defined by honor, duty, and an outwardly imposed sense of obligation.
I honestly don't know enough about the Soviet Union to say with certainty that Rand's treatment of the Twentieth Century Motor company was an accurate analogy. I do know the Soviet Union apparently didn't work?
FWIW, there's a lot of tenets of Objectivism with which I don't agree, Reb. I think hypnotism really exists, for one.
Like Rand, however, I too am convinced that people are driven by self-interest. And, again like Rand, I don't think that has be a bad thing.
I have read Rand. I read Atlas Shrugged. I read The Fountainhead. I've Read, Heaven help me, The Virtue of Selfishness, and I believe one other. I read them in the early sixties.
I'm glad to hear that, Bob. Honestly, you might want to try reading some of that stuff again. With the benefits of age and wisdom, you might get a little more out of it. I sure don't pretend to understand everything about Objectivism, but I think I can say with some safety that your interpretation is flawed.
Rand would be much easier for most people to grasp, I think, if rational selfishness had been hyphenated into a single word, a single noun, a single concept. Objectivism, I think, recognizes selfishness but advocates rational-selfishness. That's an important distinction.
If I understand you correctly, you would suggest that we'd do much better going back to that.
Not at all, Bob. You cite the elimination of debtor's prisons, serfdoms, and child labor as if they were entitlements? Those are examples of government protecting people from other people, which is of course the prime function of government.
Your examples, as best I can tell, have nothing at all to do with welfare and socialism?
When would these times have been?
I don't know, Bob. When you and I were growing up, perhaps? When farm houses almost always harbored more than two generations? When neighbors brought food to funerals and their strong, willing backs to house-raisings? When this country survived a real depression by helping each other, not depending solely on government?
How about today, Bob? Those times aren't entirely gone. My nearest Amish neighbor, Harvey, has FOUR generations living under his roof. And Harvey still finds a way to support his neighbors when they need it. That's not welfare. That's people helping people.
Unemployment insurance that I recall was paid in part by the employer, and in part by the employee, by the way.
I think you're recalling wrong, Bob. Maybe you're confusing it with California's Disability Insurance, which indeed, IS forcefully extracted from both employee and employer? UI premiums are paid solely by the employer in every state I know, typically at about 12 percent of the first $12-14,000 of wages. Been there, done that.
Doesn't matter, though, because that's not the point.
If we gave that same money directly to the workers every week they earned it, it would accomplish exactly the same thing. The only reason not to do so, of course, is because you don't trust the individual to use it wisely. You want to force them to save it.
Do you really not see a problem with that, Bob?
... and responding to your serene confidence in knowing what God wants, I will presume to follow you lead, if only in the most tongue in cheek fashion, and suggest to you that if you can assume to know His will in this matter, it is not at all inconsistent for fools on the other side of the debate to reflect the same point of view by saying that this sort of welfare is correct because, "We are His Instruments."
LOL. Which, of course, is exactly what you meant, Bob, when you said in your own serene confidence, "... but that is, traditionally, The Christian thing to do. It's traditionally the ethical thing to do."
Please don't chide me, Bob, for being no less assured of my interpretation of Scripture than you were in yours.
... but there is actually some research as to what motivates people to work and to succeed.
I think that would be a very interesting discussion, Bob. It wouldn't have much to do with this one, though, because there's been much less research into what demotivates people to work and succeed.
You mention Eupsychian Management, for example. And what was Maslow's very first required assumption?
1. Assume everyone is to be trusted.
Okay. Let's try trusting the individual, then, to handle their own money wisely?