OT - I don't _hate_ McMansions

Levi Pearson levi at cold.org
Fri Jun 27 23:55:48 MDT 2008


Von Fugal <von at fugal.net> writes:
> You seem to be confusing me with an anarchist. Such is not the case. My
> rights end where yours begin, right? If you misconstrue where your
> rights begin, how is that any different from me misconstrueing where
> mine end?

Did you not read the paragraph below?  I was just including the above
to make my line of argument more complete, not because I thought you
were an anarchist.

>> I'm sure you understand this, I just want to make
>> it clear that liberty is necessarily limited by government even as it
>> is protected, but that the government receives the right to restrict
>> liberty by contract with the people.
>
> Sure, making a contract where necessary to protect rights in some cases
> may restrict other rights. Such as my right to walk wherever I want is
> superceded by other's rights to have private property. Not the best
> example because walking isn't really a right in itself, but I'm tired.
> The important part is "where necessary to protect rights." Thus the
> litmus test: what rights am I protecting? Is it necessary?

Again, you're confused about what rights are in a legal sense, but
whatever.  You seem to think that there are only the natural rights,
when in fact there are quite a few more that have been established
through our legal system.  Laws are created by elected
representatives, and they can establish rights.  Rights are
enforced/protected by the government.  Clear?

> Here's where I take issue. I don't think a safety net is a bad idea. I
> think this particular safety net has served a useful purpose. *I* don't
> *want* this safety net. I would rather build my own thank you. Alas I am
> *forced* to pay for this safety net against my wishes. Such is the
> predicament of one in the social contract. 

It's a cost of living in our society, and you're welcome to leave or
attempt to change it if you don't agree.  You may cry 'compulsion!'
all you want, but that doesn't make it so.

I happen to believe that providing a basic social safety net makes
everyone better off, as it puts a lower floor to the poverty level.
Because of the complexity of our society and its high cost, even
well-prepared and hard-working people can be reduced to poverty by
accident.  Many people simply don't know how to sufficiently prepare
against accidents or bad fortune.  If all of them were reduced to
poverty at the first accident, and nothing was provided to help them
out, our society would quickly get sucked down into depression.

You can believe you won't need it all you want, and maybe you won't,
but many people in your community will, and your community will be a
much healthier place because of it.

> Such is also the danger of not following the above litmus test. *My*
> right to property is being violated, money is taken from me.

You are voluntarily giving your money to the government, just like you
voluntarily pay rent to your landlord.  It's part of the contract.  If
you don't like the terms, you'll have to look somewhere else or try to
renegotiate, but they're pretty well established by now!

> In some cases this is necessary and
> prudent, such as to protect the right to life, and whether or not I want
> my life protected, it is important enough and necessary enough that the
> social contract is justified. In the case of social security, my
> property rights are being violated for what? What right is being
> protected?? The right to not save? The right to be poor? The right to
> live? Ah that last one sounds good, and this may help people to live. So
> may charities, voluntary charities. So perhaps it fails the necessary
> test. Hmm. This is what I want to see done with ALL laws. Put it to the
> test. Does it protect a right? Is it necessary? Maybe social security is
> necessary, maybe people aren't charitable in this day and age. So argue
> that. Don't say "government is compromise, so you have to like the laws
> I'm proposing."

Your 'litmus test' is ill-founded, as I explained above.  A right to
receive Social Security checks was established when the relevant
legislation was enacted.  Your right to the money that pays for it was
contracted away in the same way that your right to move your fist ends
at my face, so to speak, was contracted away; by voluntary
participation in our society.

Legislation doesn't need to be *necessary*, it only needs to be deemed
beneficial by the polity.  And, by the way, I mean social security
(when not capitlized) in a far broader sense than simply the Social
Security fund.

> I appluad the flexible nature of the constitution. There have been many
> great amendments since it was conceived. I dare say all the ammendments
> are great. What we have now is complete and utter disregard for the
> constition entirely. Nobody even bothers to make an ammendment anymore.
> The just throw it out the window and pass laws willy nilly that fly in
> the face of the constitution.

There's no more utter disregard than there's ever been.  That's why
the courts exist, so that unconstitutional laws can be struck down.
You just have an odd idea of what's constitutional.

> Wonderful argument: government is corrupt, so we must let it be corrupt.
> I love this country. I love our just laws and our constitution. I am
> deeply grateful that it has been so incredibly resistant. All the more
> reason I want to protect it so it is _still_ resilient and holding forth
> for my grandchildren.

I didn't say we had to let it be corrupt, I said that it *is* and *has
been*.  Clearly we should discourage that, but it's never going to be
completely eliminated.

> Yes, government is corrupt. All the more reason to insist on said litmus
> test before supporting ANY law, bill, or other government action.

Again, your litmus test idea is based on a flawed concept of what a
'right' is and a narrow view of the role of government.

                --Levi



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