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philpot123

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Everything posted by philpot123

  1. Recognizing that farmers will not get paid as much as a doctor does not mean that we don't want farmers to exist. I have been a farmer. But each doctor's labor is worth more than each farmer's labor because of field entry barriers and educational requirements.
  2. "The analysis of our illustrations has taught us another incidental lesson. This is that, when we study the effects of various proposals, not merely on special groups in the short run, but on all groups in the long run, the conclusions we arrive at usually correspond with those of unsophisticated common sense. It would not occur to anyone unacquainted with the prevailing economic half literacy that it is good to have windows broken and cities destroyed; that it is anything but waste to create needless public projects; that it is dangerous to let idle hordes of men return to work; that machines which increase the production of wealth and economize human effort are to be dreaded; that obstructions to free production and free consumption increase wealth; that a nation grows richer by forcing other nations to take its goods for less than they cost to produce; that saving is stupid or wicked and that dissipation brings prosperity....Depth in economics consists in looking for all the consequences of a policy instead of merely resting one’s gaze on those immediately visible." - Henry Hazlitt ^ relevant for the whole of this discussion.
  3. So if I ought to do something, if I have a moral obligation to do something, that necessarily means the government should force me to do it? I think we'd better start by working out a foundation. By what standard do you say I have a moral obligation to help the poor? I believe I do, but that comes directly from a command of God to love my neighbor as myself. IIRC, you don't hold to my religious persuasion, so I wonder where your moral obligation comes from? Also, as a footnote... you seem generally pessimistic about the ability of humans to be altruistic. You don't trust most people to do what's morally right with their money, because they're selfish, greedy, etc. But you trust those same people to guide a powerful centralized government in a benevolent manner? Those of us who are pessimistic about human nature have a dilemma in that the government is made up of humans. I agree that tax loopholes are silly, but excuse me if I don't take authoritative economic advice from someone who could buy a fleet of lamborghinis without losing a zero in his bank account. Saying that he should "pay more" is cheap rhetoric when paying more means basically nothing to him. His interest and dividend earnings probably outpace any taxes he has to pay. His opinion on what the rich should pay doesn't help the economic side of the discussion.
  4. True enough. I wholeheartedly agree. Now explain to me why the government should force me to do that. The problem is that businesses don't decide what a "livable" wage is. They decide what wage they can pay per worker according to their desire for workers and the productivity of each individual worker. Again, the government can't make someone's labor worth more than it already is by brute force. That's determined by the market. There is no way around the fact that a higher minimum wage can never be economically productive. If set below equilibrium, it will do nothing. If set above equilibrium, it will cause a surplus of laborers, leading to unemployment. If you want the market equilibrium wage to be a "livable wage," the key is to stop causing inflation and unemployment by ridiculous regulation that is economically detrimental and logically backwards. Raising the minimum wage will inevitably lead to an increased reliance on technology to replace the worker (a true Marxist nightmare). Why not? I'm not saying I disagree, but you're making value judgments, not economic judgments. Why should people not have to work multiple jobs? What standard says that such a thing is "wrong," or even undesirable? The majority of people working minimum wage jobs are not at or below the poverty line, because the majority (85%) of minimum wage earners are not the sole income source in their family. Less than one third of people below the poverty line hold a part-time job. 2/3 of minimum wage workers receive a raise within one year. It's not as if a minimum wage job is a one-way ticket to poverty, even in our current terrible system. Also: About two-thirds of adults living below the poverty line don't work. Key Facts About the Minimum Wage Basically most people who earn minimum wage are young, in school, or a supplemental earner to a spouse/family member who earns better wages. So, raising the minimum wage will only make it more difficult to get entry-level jobs, while simultaneously accomplishing basically nothing for those below the poverty line. How is this supposed to help exactly? I don't see what's so difficult about letting the market work itself out. We just feel the need to introduce heavy-handed regulation that completely screws up the balance of an economy that functions on human choice and natural self-interest.
  5. Poor choices in a market economy will always resolve absent extenuating circumstances. A lack of regulation allowed bankers to invest poorly, yes. And poor investments lead to economic downturns, yes. But that does not necessitate a depression. That would not have happened if we had not been dependent on European debt payments, which were dependent on German industry, which was dependent on American investment. The lack of a coercive government saying "thou shalt not invest here, here, and here" certainly allowed certain people to make poor choices, but that on its own would not have caused a depression, so you can't say that it was the proximate cause. Farm regulation made life easier for farmers who were struggling, but did basically nothing to "solve" the depression. Those, combined with other New Deal programs, arguably prolonged the depression, and at the least did nothing to really help. They provided comfort and a morale boost in a struggling economy. So, just to sum up: yes, poor choices mean bad economic consequences. But a market economy can recover from those, given time. Stiff government regulation leads to worse. Perhaps that's the intent minimum wage laws, but who is to say that is what minimum wages need to be? Wages are determined the same way as prices. It's supply and demand. You can't make someone's work worth more simply by passing a law forbidding voluntary labor contracts for a wage under $X.XX. You'll just cause employers to look for more economically productive ways to accomplish the same goals (enter technology). In a properly functioning economy, a minimum wage law will either accomplish literally nothing, because equilibrium wages will already be higher than the "minimum" required by law, or they will cause a surplus in labor, and an increased reliance on technology instead of workers. It's nice to wish that people could be paid a certain amount, but you can't force businesses to pay that amount without causing economic consequences.
  6. That's a value judgment that may or may not be true, but can you back that up economically? Can you explain to me why the market should be structured in such a way that each person only has to work one job, and how that will work practically? Perhaps it's ideal that no one should have to work multiple jobs, but just because X is ideal doesn't mean we can make the market become X through government intervention and brute force. Economics doesn't work that way. Caring for one's community does not equal socialism. Localism and community aid are conservative endeavors that are initiated by private choice. Socialism is a top-down approach to solving the same problems by coercing the same sort of altruistic aid. If it's true that we ought to be supporting those in our community, and I agree that it is, the difference between you and me is that you think the government should force us to do things that are good, and I think that's preposterous. Should the government force me to brush my teeth and eat my vegetables as well, while we're at it? I also believe that local solutions to poverty problems are best, not centralized solutions made by people who have no real connection to my community. And all of this argument about whether or not it's good to help the poor misses the fact that only free markets have the sustainable economic prosperity to actually accomplish such a feat. The Great Depression was largely caused by the collapse of the cycle of payments that was initiated at the end of WWI. So, no. It wasn't caused by surplus and lack of regulation. That's just wrong. And regulation of farming did absolutely nothing to solve the Depression. WWII did that.
  7. New documentary about the Common Core standards. Although it's obviously against the standards, it provides a fair treatment with interviews of both proponents and opponents of the standards. Check it out. Building the Machine: The Common Core
  8. I would agree with you that it seems to be the only way. My question is, how do you know you are observing and reasoning correctly? How do you validate your senses and reasoning? It seems that the only way to validate your senses and reasoning is with your senses and reasoning. You can test your reasoning by means of observation, but what is your basis for trusting your observations? You can test your observations according to what you would logically expect to see, but what is your basis for trusting your own reasoning? I'm going in the direction of epistemological nihilism, which is what an atheistic worldview is forced into. Your exposition of how you use senses and reasoning to arrive at knowledge is great, but there's still not explanation for its validity within your worldview. You're relying on your senses and reasoning to validate your senses and reasoning. Your basis for knowledge collapses in circularity, but that doesn't sit well with you because you have knowledge, right? You know that you're seeing things. You know that you're thinking. I would even say that contrary to centuries of silly existential philosophy that you know you exist. You just don't know how you can know those things. Within a world of chance that lacks transcendent standards, you can't know anything. Just so I'm making sure I don't misrepresent you, what is your epistemological foundation? How are you able to have knowledge?
  9. It's neither good nor bad. It's just that since secular science almost univocally declared that the universe had a point of origin, it seems like most atheists/agnostics have had a cosmology centered around some sort of definite, bangy origin to the universe. Most don't like confessing the eternality of matter because then they realize that they're stuck believing in eternal somethings just like theists believe in eternal somethings. So based on observation and reason, we determine that logic exists?
  10. You're genuinely the first person I've ever interacted with who has confessed the eternal existence of matter so readily. I thought you guys were gone after secular origins theories developed. That's a nice syllogism, a little deviant from the typical aristotelian model but workable. I guess you didn't see my edit, so I'll ask again. How do you know that logic exists? For all I know your syllogism makes as much since as the sky is brown, monkeys wear hats, therefore egg. How am I to discern the existence of these eternal, immaterial things? Logic "began with" matter? You're saying that something immaterial came from that which is material, something universal came from that which is particular, and something immutable came from something which is in a "constant state of swelling and cooling." All of which are logical impossibilities. Shew. Or perhaps you simply mean that logic began at the same time as matter - that is, didn't have a beginning at all. If that's the case, I'll wait for you to clarify before any more questions.
  11. "They have always existed." Wow. You're sounding almost like you believe in a deity, you're just calling it logic. Did the laws of logic preexist before the universe's beginning, or was there ever a point when they did not exist? How do you know these laws of logic exist?
  12. Not a problem! I'm usually going around making those types of assertions, so your assumption was reasonable
  13. I'm not the one making logic claims and value judgments at the moment, I'm just asking questions ^.^ but if you'd like to know what I consider the basis for all human reason, you're welcome to PM me and I can discuss it further. I'm aware of what the laws of logic are, I was trying to determine whether or not you believed they exist and are universal. Based on your response, I'll assume yes and work from there. It's lovely that you believe in logic, that makes conversation so much easier. If these laws of logic are universal and immutable, that is they apply to everyone and don't change from person to person, where did they come from? Also, are the laws of logic physical or non-physical? You seem to believe they exist, but can you touch them or see them? While you're observing cause, action, and effect, how do you know you can trust your observations?
  14. Are there universal laws of logic? How do you know your reasoning is valid?
  15. I didn't get it because you hadn't stated it clearly. You neatly dodged it multiple times, but it took you this long to put it in those terms. If morality aligns with rationality, how does one determine whether or not an action is rational?
  16. So you arrived at the conclusion that humans are not rational creatures by looking at historical facts and reasoning from there? You used your rational faculties to determine that humans aren't rational? Are you saying that actions are wrong when they are irrational? You're still not clearly stating a standard here.
  17. Humans are rational creatures. Some humans decide they prefer to kill themselves or kill others. Why is their preference worse than your preference?
  18. Some rational creatures decide it's best to kill themselves or others. What makes their preference any worse than yours? You're making value judgments, but I'm still not seeing a fixed, knowable standard that you can claim to explain those judgments. You and me both.
  19. I'm still not understanding why death or chaos should be avoided.
  20. If there is no right and wrong, then why is it "bad" for me to cause chaos? You prefer order, I prefer chaos. Which of us is right? I don't need "a book," I need a standard. Your standard seems to be feelings and preference, unless you want to provide another. Conservative Christians throw around the words infallible and inerrant almost interchangeably, but since the modernist/fundamentalist controversy in the early 1900s and the evangelical revivals of the late 1900s, the two have had slightly different meanings. Most conservative Christians confess the Bible to be infallible. That is, the Bible is infallibly true where it speaks to matters of faith and salvation, but does not claim to be factually accurate in all other respects, and so may contain factual errors. Many of those who confess infallibility will also confess inerrancy, which is the belief that the Bible is entirely true and accurate in its original autographs in all information that it relays, because the writers themselves were inspired by God to pen the texts. So your statement applies to the first group, not to the second (of which I am a part). Truthfully, you're giving most Christians too much credit. Most cherry picking isn't done because of beliefs about error and fallibility, it's just flat inconsistency.
  21. You did a really great job of not answering my question. I'll answer yours when you answer mine.
  22. I'm not talking about what I believe, I'm questioning YOUR basis for believing that hurting someone is wrong. Is hurting someone wrong because I think it's wrong? Is it wrong because I empathize with them? Or are you appealing to a transcendent standard? I want to know where this concept of "right and wrong" is coming from. Is it based on feeling? Reasoning? What? I don't see how this is "ridiculous" at all. It would be ridiculous to say that something was wrong without knowing why it was wrong.
  23. That doesn't answer the question adequately. You've said what you think is wrong, but you haven't said why it's wrong. By what standard do you claim that hurting someone is wrong?
  24. So you determine right from wrong based on feeling and intuition? Or if not those, then by what standard do you determine what is right and what is wrong?
  25. All men everywhere have knowledge of the existence of their creator through creation and by virtue of being made in his image, and they consciously reject and sin against him by willful disobedience. Denial of God's existence and nature is a suppression of the truth in unrighteousness. (47)