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Bloggingheads 06-27-2011 07:22 PM

Political Philosophy and Wilt Chamberlain (Matthew Yglesias & Julian Sanchez)
 

badhatharry 06-27-2011 08:45 PM

Re: Political Philosophy and Wilt Chamberlain (Matthew Yglesias & Julian Sanchez)
 
I didn't know that nobody really agrees with Daniel Dennett. Poor guy.

So what is the critique of the critique? They spent the time talking about Nozick and not mentioning Metcalf.

Julian does his very best William Buckley impression, complete with eyebrow raise.

sugarkang 06-27-2011 09:20 PM

Re: Political Philosophy and Wilt Chamberlain (Matthew Yglesias & Julian Sanchez)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by badhatharry (Post 214393)
Julian does his very best William Buckley impression, complete with eyebrow raise.

Dude, I've been trying to figure out for the longest time what it was about Julian that reminded me of something...

I think you nailed it.

This is a bummer about Nozick because I haven't read him and so I haven't had anything to say about him.

look 06-27-2011 09:29 PM

Re: Political Philosophy and Wilt Chamberlain (Matthew Yglesias & Julian Sanchez)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by badhatharry (Post 214393)
I didn't know that nobody really agrees with Daniel Dennett. Poor guy.

So what is the critique of the critique? They spent the time talking about Nozick and not mentioning Metcalf.

Julian does his very best William Buckley impression, complete with eyebrow raise.

lol that's adorable. Here is what I was thinking:

http://images2.fanpop.com/images/pho...94-393-292.jpg

chamblee54 06-27-2011 09:56 PM

Re: Political Philosophy and Wilt Chamberlain (Matthew Yglesias & Julian Sanchez)
 
It is quaint to carry on about Wilt Chamberlain's salary today. The salaries of athletes today is much, much higher.
At one point, Wilt Chamberlain was making $100,000 a year. Bill Russell (who at the time had won, with the Boston Celtics, the NBA championship about seven years in a row.) signed a contract for $100,001, making him the highest paid player in the NBA.
chamblee54

Hume's Bastard 06-27-2011 10:18 PM

Re: Political Philosophy and Wilt Chamberlain (Matthew Yglesias & Julian Sanchez)
 
Why is the libertarian cult getting a diavlog when there's so much news going on?

sugarkang 06-27-2011 10:20 PM

Re: Political Philosophy and Wilt Chamberlain (Matthew Yglesias & Julian Sanchez)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Hume's Bastard (Post 214406)
Why is the libertarian cult getting a diavlog when there's so much news going on?

Because you liberals are getting scared of us.

As a side note, Matt seems a smidgen more libertarian since he last appeared with Tyler Cowen or maybe it just has to do with the Nozick topic. But regarding the usefulness of philosophy, it probably doesn't matter all that much, but it does still matter in constitutional law. At least court rationales are still based in first principles, philosophical justifications. Congressional legislation, definitely not as much.

Holy crap. Matt Yglesias is now a right winger and Julian Sanchez shat a brick.

You mean we're not just driven purely by evil Matt?

Starwatcher162536 06-27-2011 10:39 PM

Re: Political Philosophy and Wilt Chamberlain (Matthew Yglesias & Julian Sanchez)
 
Let's pretend we humans have not been ruthless over our history as we have been and the cumulative transactions that resulted in today's wealth disparaties were all voluntary. I'm a big fan of "Geographical Determinism", so let's also say advantaged and disadvantaged groups do not correlate with such things as gender or ethnicity. There will be however, even in this hypothetical better world, advantaged and disadvantaged groups that have a hereditary component when determining the composition of afformentioned groups. Coercion is bad, both when it comes from the state and the accidents of birth. The state by partaking in the first can reduce the latter.

{Edit: I'm somewhat meandering tonight and realize now I never explicitly made my point; The amount of coercion in a society is not a function of the "size of the state"}

Second argument; The only reason any of us scrape by at more then subsistence is because of a highly interdependent network (Society) in which we all voluntarily participate in. No one is stopping some wanna be Galt from moving to a forest and actually living by the fruits of his labor in truth. The fee for partaking in the aforementioned network is whatever the cumulative will of the network wants it to be as expressed through elections. There is no need to bring in all these thought experiments. It's all really is that simple.

The Libertarian response would be?

sugarkang 06-27-2011 10:54 PM

Re: Political Philosophy and Wilt Chamberlain (Matthew Yglesias & Julian Sanchez)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Starwatcher162536 (Post 214412)
There will be however, even in this hypothetical better world, advantaged and disadvantaged groups that have a hereditary component when determining the composition of afformentioned groups. Coercion is bad, both when it comes from the state and the accidents of birth. The state by partaking in the first can reduce the latter.

You've expressed a normative judgment that accidents of birth are, a priori, bad? I haven't read Nozick.

Quote:

Second argument; The only reason any of us scrape by at more then subsistence is because of a highly interdependent network (Society) in which we all voluntarily participate in. No one is stopping some wanna be Galt from moving to a forest and actually living by the fruits of his labor in truth. The fee for partaking in the aforementioned network is whatever the cumulative will of the network wants it to be as expressed through elections. There is no need to bring in all these thought experiments. It's all really is that simple.
That sounds about right. The debate point is "cumulative will of the network" and how one goes about measuring this. Is that metric determined by the state, like in The Lives of Others or is it represented by the people like in an idealized version of the United States? Cumulative will, does that suppose that the people know what they want? And would the people be happy in getting what they think they want?

Starwatcher162536 06-27-2011 11:02 PM

Re: Political Philosophy and Wilt Chamberlain (Matthew Yglesias & Julian Sanchez)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by sugarkang (Post 214413)
You've expressed a normative judgment that accidents of birth are, a priori, bad? I haven't read Nozick.

I haven't either, but assume he does. Seems like a fairly fundamental argument that would need to be covered in any comprehensive treastise on Libertarianism. Elections are good enough for me.

brucds 06-28-2011 12:07 AM

Re: Political Philosophy and Wilt Chamberlain (Matthew Yglesias & Julian Sanchez)
 
"Because you liberals are getting scared of us."

We're scared of the insane demons...Beck, Bachmann, et. al. that have been unleashed under the rubric of "libertarianism."

Sanchez' T-shirt says it all...that's all libertarianism is, and I salute his honesty in iconography.

Incidentally, having read the Salon article, Nozick sounds like a total joke of ivory tower academia. Nothing there...the Chamberlain straw man borders on the ridiculous. As Yglesias notes early on (and I admit to not listening to much more because I totally could care less about libertarian whining about being subjected to the most modest normative standards of relevance to reality) what actual argument is this "thought experiment" addressing ? Total straw man. Libertarianism is grist for the utterly sophomoric.

chiwhisoxx 06-28-2011 12:38 AM

Re: Political Philosophy and Wilt Chamberlain (Matthew Yglesias & Julian Sanchez)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by brucds (Post 214425)
"Because you liberals are getting scared of us."

We're scared of the insane demons...Beck, Bachmann, et. al. that have been unleashed under the rubric of "libertarianism."

Sanchez' T-shirt says it all...that's all libertarianism is, and I salute his honesty in iconography.

Incidentally, having read the Salon article, Nozick sounds like a total joke of ivory tower academia. Nothing there...the Chamberlain straw man borders on the ridiculous. As Yglesias notes early on (and I admit to not listening to much more because I totally could care less about libertarian whining about being subjected to the most modest normative standards of relevance to reality) what actual argument is this "thought experiment" addressing ? Total straw man. Libertarianism is grist for the utterly sophomoric.

why am I not surprised this is the first time you've heard of robert nozick

graz 06-28-2011 12:40 AM

Re: Political Philosophy and Wilt Chamberlain (Matthew Yglesias & Julian Sanchez)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by chiwhisoxx (Post 214427)
why am I not surprised this is the first time you've heard of robert nozick

And how does Nozick inform your existence or worldview?

sugarkang 06-28-2011 12:41 AM

Re: Political Philosophy and Wilt Chamberlain (Matthew Yglesias & Julian Sanchez)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by brucds (Post 214425)
"Because you liberals are getting scared of us."

We're scared of the insane demons...Beck, Bachmann, et. al. that have been unleashed under the rubric of "libertarianism."

Sanchez' T-shirt says it all...that's all libertarianism is, and I salute his honesty in iconography.

Incidentally, having read the Salon article, Nozick sounds like a total joke of ivory tower academia. Nothing there...the Chamberlain straw man borders on the ridiculous. As Yglesias notes early on (and I admit to not listening to much more because I totally could care less about libertarian whining about being subjected to the most modest normative standards of relevance to reality) what actual argument is this "thought experiment" addressing ? Total straw man. Libertarianism is grist for the utterly sophomoric.

Okay, so let me make sure I've understood your argument.
Libertarianism is grist for the utterly sophomoric because:
1. Julian Sanchez is wearing a t-shirt with a baby printed on it; and
2. Salon is the arbiter of truth and from the absolute truth that Salon puts out, it sounds as if Nozick is a total joke.

And if you could care less about libertarian whining, how much less could you care?

Incidentally, why are there Glenn Beck TV adverts on my Chrome? I think I'd have to blame badhatharry...

JulianSanchez 06-28-2011 12:44 AM

Re: Political Philosophy and Wilt Chamberlain (Matthew Yglesias & Julian Sanchez)
 
As I note in the dialog, every person I've spoken to about this who is actually familiar with Nozick—including staunch progressives who utterly disagree with him—regards the Slate piece as an embarrassing farrago whose author does not appear to even grasp the point of the argument he imagines himself to be answering. If you're going to form an opinion of the work based on summaries, it's probably better to pick a guide who (however unsympathetic he might be) understands what he's explaining in some elementary way.

graz 06-28-2011 12:47 AM

Re: Political Philosophy and Wilt Chamberlain (Matthew Yglesias & Julian Sanchez)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by sugarkang (Post 214429)
Okay, so let me make sure I've understood your argument.
Libertarianism is grist for the utterly sophomoric because:

Okay, so you've posted hundreds of times this month as a libertarian exemplar, that hasn't amounted to much more than: free markets good.

sugarkang 06-28-2011 12:56 AM

Re: Political Philosophy and Wilt Chamberlain (Matthew Yglesias & Julian Sanchez)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by graz (Post 214431)
Okay, so you've posted hundreds of times this month as a libertarian exemplar, that hasn't amounted to much more than: free markets good.

I don't see how that's possible (me as exemplar) since I haven't even read the Nozick. I was a full on Chomsky loving liberal until 2007. And what's wrong with government institutions having to justify their existence? Or do you like a little arbitrary coercion with your latte each morning?

graz 06-28-2011 01:02 AM

Re: Political Philosophy and Wilt Chamberlain (Matthew Yglesias & Julian Sanchez)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by sugarkang (Post 214432)
I don't see how that's possible (me as exemplar) since I haven't even read the Nozick. I was a full on Chomsky loving liberal until 2007. And what's wrong with government institutions having to justify their existence? Or do you like a little arbitrary coercion with your latte each morning?

Okay, you're not a stellar example period ... Except of a broken record. One note Johnny. A hammer that sees nothing but nails. Got it yet?

Nobody is countering the idea that institutions need accountability. The conversation could or should be in the details. And when Stephanie asked you to dig deeper, you ran away. Generalities R U.

chiwhisoxx 06-28-2011 02:07 AM

Re: Political Philosophy and Wilt Chamberlain (Matthew Yglesias & Julian Sanchez)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by graz (Post 214428)
And how does Nozick inform your existence or worldview?

that's not at all relevant to my point. I work from the premise that people interested in politics, public policy, etc. (the stuff we talk about here) should have a basis of understanding for their beliefs. these understandings are often rooted in grappling with important works in the field. a theory of justice by john rawls is uncontroversially the most important work of political philosophy in the last 100 plus years. nozick's anarchy, state and utopia is the best known (attempted) rebuttal. so I'm not sure it's totally bizarre for me to think that someone interested in the sort of stuff we discuss here might at least know who robert nozick is.

Peter Sibley 06-28-2011 03:32 AM

Re: Political Philosophy and Wilt Chamberlain (Matthew Yglesias & Julian Sanchez)
 
Few here have actually read Wilt's autobiography. I have. Allow me to distill it:

I wore a rubber band around my wrist that my opponents snapped so as to get into my head.

I cried when I couldn't fit into the car I desired. Still, I refused to fly across the country and preferred to drive. Seven-Up was my drink of choice on these drives.

When a coach said he couldn't 'handle' me, I bucked. You 'handle' a horse; you 'work with' a human being."

I boned a stewardess in flight.

That's about it. You're welcome.

Florian 06-28-2011 04:37 AM

Re: Political Philosophy and Wilt Chamberlain (Matthew Yglesias & Julian Sanchez)
 
Thank you Matthew and Julian, members of the American intellectual "demi-monde,"* for your excellent "geeky" diavlog. I have never thought of philosophers as geeks, but that is because I live in France where, as you rightly point out, philosophy is taken a little more seriously than in the US, mainly because it is taught in high school by degree-holding philosophers who would otherwise be members of the demi-monde like you.

I agree with both of you that political philosophy has little bearing on practical politics, and that neither Nozick nor Rawls has had much influence on the political debate in the US. But are Americans really more "pragmatic" than the French or other Europeans? I don't think so. American pragmatism seems to be in retreat of late as political debate becomes more and more polarized around certain issues---taxation, health care, regulation of financial markets---and more and more oriented towards market solutions of all problems, even though Mr. Market has shown himself unable to regulate himself (the financial crisis) or to come up with a fair or even an economically efficacious health care system (by European standards), or to deal with the high levels of unemployment which have resulted from the offshoring of the US economy and from the absence of any long-term government economic planning (of the kind that exists in Europe--for public transport, efficient energy use, "green" technologies, infrastructure etc.). And it has become polarized because of certain libertarian "memes" that regard the government, or state, as the source of all economic and social problems.

Until Americans discard their naive faith, rooted in their constitution and in the 18th-century ideology of Adam Smith (who was, however, less libertarian than some contemporary libertarians), that state and society stand in antithetical relation to one another, they will never solve their problems. Maybe it is time to introduce philosophy to high school students?

*Demi-monde= société de femmes légères, de moeurs équivoques, et de ceux qui les fréquentent. (Are your morals equivocal and do you frequent loose women?)

Ocean 06-28-2011 07:46 AM

Re: Political Philosophy and Wilt Chamberlain (Matthew Yglesias & Julian Sanchez)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by chiwhisoxx (Post 214434)
... so I'm not sure it's totally bizarre for me to think that someone interested in the sort of stuff we discuss here might at least know who robert nozick is.

I wouldn't say it's totally bizarre, but it's a bit off. This is not an academic department, or a political philosophy group. This is a general audience forum. Many people volunteer their views and opinions without having any deep knowledge of the issues or their philosophical roots. That's the nature of these discussions.

harkin 06-28-2011 08:36 AM

Re: Political Philosophy and Wilt Chamberlain (Matthew Yglesias & Julian Sanchez)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by graz (Post 214433)
Okay, you're not a stellar example period ... Except of a broken record. One note Johnny. A hammer that sees nothing but nails. Got it yet?

Nobody is countering the idea that institutions need accountability. The conversation could or should be in the details.

When the people voted on institutional accountability in WI and NJ, the liberals ran from the details (which embarrassed them) and were the One Note Johnnys. Well, two notes maybe, public union members were losing their civil rights to bankrupt the state and conservatives were nazis.

Nice to see that some democrats are now accepting, if not exactly embracing reality in NJ:

"Predictably, labor unions are excoriating Democrats who joined Republicans to pass the law, but even "tax and spend" Democrats are beginning to realize we can't go on like this, and that the future of the country is more important than seeking short-term partisan political advantage."

In WI........not so much (are the unions still sending cops and firefighters around threatening to destroy the businesses of those who resist strongarm tactics?).

bkjazfan 06-28-2011 08:45 AM

Re: Political Philosophy and Wilt Chamberlain (Matthew Yglesias & Julian Sanchez)
 
The only book I read by Robert Nozick was "Philosophical Examinations" or something like that which was one of his last works. He didn't dwell on it much but did mention he had retreated from his early dogmatic libertarian philosophy. His concern was the well being of the downtrodden. Sounds reasonable.

Hal Morris 06-28-2011 09:01 AM

Re: Political Philosophy and Wilt Chamberlain (Matthew Yglesias & Julian Sanchez)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Florian (Post 214439)
Until Americans discard their naive faith, rooted in their constitution and in the 18th-century ideology of Adam Smith (who was, however, less libertarian than some contemporary libertarians), that state and society stand in antithetical relation to one another, they will never solve their problems. Maybe it is time to introduce philosophy to high school students?

Smith mentioned an "invisible hand" a couple of times, but it was later economists who invented the magical infallible invisible hand. Amartya Sen has an interesting (fairly long) lecture on "The Uses and Abuses of Adam Smith" (<=== Link to it).

JulianSanchez 06-28-2011 09:30 AM

Re: Political Philosophy and Wilt Chamberlain (Matthew Yglesias & Julian Sanchez)
 
Philosophical Explanations is Nozick's second book, not one of his later ones. His final book, Invariances, makes clear that he continued to regard his view as (broadly speaking) libertarian, though of course he had changed his mind about some arguments he advanced 25 years earlier.

badhatharry 06-28-2011 09:30 AM

Re: Political Philosophy and Wilt Chamberlain (Matthew Yglesias & Julian Sanchez)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Florian (Post 214439)
Thank you Matthew and Julian, members of the American intellectual "demi-monde,"* for your excellent "geeky" diavlog. I have never thought of philosophers as geeks, but that is because I live in France where, as you rightly point out, philosophy is taken a little more seriously than in the US, mainly because it is taught in high school by degree-holding philosophers who would otherwise be members of the demi-monde like you.

Are they philosophers or people who teach philosophy?

Quote:

I agree with both of you that political philosophy has little bearing on practical politics, and that neither Nozick nor Rawls has had much influence on the political debate in the US. But are Americans really more "pragmatic" than the French or other Europeans? I don't think so. American pragmatism seems to be in retreat of late as political debate becomes more and more polarized around certain issues---taxation, health care, regulation of financial markets---and more and more oriented towards market solutions of all problems, even though Mr. Market has shown himself unable to regulate himself (the financial crisis) or to come up with a fair or even an economically efficacious health care system (by European standards), or to deal with the high levels of unemployment which have resulted from the offshoring of the US economy and from the absence of any long-term government economic planning (of the kind that exists in Europe--for public transport, efficient energy use, "green" technologies, infrastructure etc.). And it has become polarized because of certain libertarian "memes" that regard the government, or state, as the source of all economic and social problems.
There are no economic problems in Europe? From what I am reading the Europeans are in very bad trouble, either because of their own irresponsible actions or because of their partners'. There are regulations galore on the books in the US and the lack of them wasn't the cause of the financial crisis even though that myth gets repeated over and over. It may be pragmatic in the short run to have the state take over things but time tells a different tale.


Quote:

Until Americans discard their naive faith, rooted in their constitution and in the 18th-century ideology of Adam Smith (who was, however, less libertarian than some contemporary libertarians), that state and society stand in antithetical relation to one another, they will never solve their problems. Maybe it is time to introduce philosophy to high school students?
First, our school children would have to learn to read, something our state run schools seem unable to manage well. I doubt we'll be able to completely wrest our souls from the ideas expressed in our constitution. Some of us believe that it is better for individuals to take care of their own needs. However there seems to be a dramatic shift taking place and some people in this country think we need a stronger governmental presence in our lives. I think this is a pivotal point in our nation and the outcome is not at all certain.

bkjazfan 06-28-2011 09:38 AM

Re: Political Philosophy and Wilt Chamberlain (Matthew Yglesias & Julian Sanchez)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by JulianSanchez (Post 214458)
Philosophical Explanations is Nozick's second book, not one of his later ones. His final book, Invariances, makes clear that he continued to regard his view as (broadly speaking) libertarian, though of course he had changed his mind about some arguments he advanced 25 years earlier.

Thank you for your reply. Philosophy is not my forte. The book I was referering to was "The Examined Life: Philosophical Meditations" copyrighted in 1990.

operative 06-28-2011 09:40 AM

Re: Political Philosophy and Wilt Chamberlain (Matthew Yglesias & Julian Sanchez)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by badhatharry (Post 214459)

There are no economic problems in Europe? From what I am reading the Europeans are in very bad trouble, either because of their own irresponsible actions or because of their partners'. There are regulations galore on the books in the US and the lack of them wasn't the cause of the financial crisis even though that myth gets repeated over and over. It may be pragmatic in the short run to have the state take over things but time tells a different tale.

Yes, considering that Greece may soon collapse financially, severely effecting the EU in doing so, I can't see the claim. And it's not like it's just the Greek, either (though Greece has been by far the worst offender). Portugal is next. French debt is approaching 80% of GDP. The demographic crisis isn't going away in many European countries--stagnant or even negative population growth. Western European economies are built on an unsustainable system. So is the US, but we're at least a little better than a few European countries right now.

I'm having trouble loading the diavlog :( I made it through the first section but subsequent sections have not been loading.

badhatharry 06-28-2011 09:45 AM

Re: Political Philosophy and Wilt Chamberlain (Matthew Yglesias & Julian Sanchez)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Hal Morris (Post 214454)
Smith mentioned an "invisible hand" a couple of times, but it was later economists who invented the magical infallible invisible hand. Amartya Sen has an interesting (fairly long) lecture on "The Uses and Abuses of Adam Smith" (<=== Link to it).

The way I have interpreted the invisible hand is that no one can imagine all of the decisions which go into making up an economy but that somehow, because of self interest, the proper amount of goods get to market and people purchase them with the money they have earned from making products for consumers.

The (simple) reason that libertarians don't like excessive regulation is because they feel that they muck up what is otherwise a very efficient process.

Looks like a good article.

miceelf 06-28-2011 09:51 AM

Re: Political Philosophy and Wilt Chamberlain (Matthew Yglesias & Julian Sanchez)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by operative (Post 214461)
Yes, considering that Greece may soon collapse financially, severely effecting the EU in doing so, I can't see the claim. And it's not like it's just the Greek, either (though Greece has been by far the worst offender). Portugal is next. French debt is approaching 80% of GDP. The demographic crisis isn't going away in many European countries--stagnant or even negative population growth. Western European economies are built on an unsustainable system. So is the US, but we're at least a little better than a few European countries right now.

I'm having trouble loading the diavlog :( I made it through the first section but subsequent sections have not been loading.

Last first. This was a repeated problem for me and I have no idea what the cause, but what I do now is download the entire thing as a wmv file to my desktop and then play. I have given up on doing it any other way.

As to "Western Europe", you focus on periphery nations, like Greece and Portugal, but Germany has a much more robust welfare state than either of those countries and is in much sounder fiscal shape.

Hal Morris 06-28-2011 09:51 AM

Re: Political Philosophy and Wilt Chamberlain (Matthew Yglesias & Julian Sanchez)
 
The Wilt Chamberlain story demonstrates that a one time setting up of equal starting conditions will not solve the problem of fairness for all time. It also illustrates how, from such a starting point, things will drift towards inequality, and sort of plausibly takes us up to the point where one extraordinarily gifted person might be making ten times what the average person makes (according to a previous post citing a $100,000/yr salary).

By the way, a more systematic discussion of Nozick's Wilt Chamberlain story, and its place in the history of debate over economics and justice is at http://academicearth.org/lectures/co...redistribution as part of a full length college course by Ian Shapiro on "The Moral Foundations of Politics".

Tocqueville spoke of a "rough equality" of Americans "I do not mean that there is any lack of wealthy individuals in the United States.... But wealth circulates with inconceivable rapidity, and experience shows that it is rare to find two succeeding generations in the full enjoyment of it." That didn't seem to far from the truth when I was growing up in the 50s and 60s, getting (State) college tuition for $150/semester, being taught by, some at least, professors whose parents were uneducated -- and consider that rough Brooklyn boy, Richard Feynman). I believe this "rough equality", which would not exclude a case like Wilt Chamberlain (either the real one or the one of Nozick's story) was the basis of American prosperity which peaked (at least if we look at how the median has fared - not at GNP and the upper middle class) around the end of that growing up period (50s - 60s).

I believe more than one European traveler in that period (1830s) had an initial reaction "How can great benevolent or civic projects happen in America without those great patrons who sponsor such projects in Europe?" But then answered their own question by pointing to the spontaneous(?) coming together of people of modest or moderate means (e.g. consider all of Benjamin Franklin's projects, the Library Company, his fire department, the philosophical society, as well as the many reform - including anti-slavery - societies founded right around 1830).

This rough equality has been mostly demolished over the past 30 years. Legitimate concerns over high taxes have led to throwing out the baby with the bathwater.

Is it any wonder that both left and right leaning movements and institutions are floated and largely controlled by the richest of the rich? We are looking in many ways more and more like 18th-19th century England, the ideal of those "old liberal" (libertarian) thinkers like John Stuart Mill.

operative 06-28-2011 09:55 AM

Re: Political Philosophy and Wilt Chamberlain (Matthew Yglesias & Julian Sanchez)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by miceelf (Post 214465)
Last first. This was a repeated problem for me and I have no idea what the cause, but what I do now is download the entire thing as a wmv file to my desktop and then play. I have given up on doing it any other way.

As to "Western Europe", you focus on periphery nations, like Greece and Portugal, but Germany has a much more robust welfare state than either of those countries and is in much sounder fiscal shape.

Germany also just dove off the deep end of the anti-nuclear power fear mongering. Come back in ten years and we'll see how their insane scheme works out for them. You are right that Greece and Portugal are in some ways peripheral--they were poor and underdeveloped longer, and also were later comers to democracy. But they're still part of Europe, and thanks to the creation of the EU, they will still bring down their European siblings. Germany also has a very high debt to GDP ratio.

miceelf 06-28-2011 10:05 AM

Re: Political Philosophy and Wilt Chamberlain (Matthew Yglesias & Julian Sanchez)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by operative (Post 214467)
Germany also just dove off the deep end of the anti-nuclear power fear mongering. Come back in ten years and we'll see how their insane scheme works out for them. You are right that Greece and Portugal are in some ways peripheral--they were poor and underdeveloped longer, and also were later comers to democracy. But they're still part of Europe, and thanks to the creation of the EU, they will still bring down their European siblings. Germany also has a very high debt to GDP ratio.

heh. I did not claim that you couldn't come up with something you didn't like about Germany, but that Germany has a thriving economy, and is more representative of Western Europe than is Portugal or Greece. At least according to IMF numbers, Germany also has a lower debt to GDP ratio than the US does.

operative 06-28-2011 10:34 AM

Re: Political Philosophy and Wilt Chamberlain (Matthew Yglesias & Julian Sanchez)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by miceelf (Post 214469)
heh. I did not claim that you couldn't come up with something you didn't like about Germany, but that Germany has a thriving economy, and is more representative of Western Europe than is Portugal or Greece. At least according to IMF numbers, Germany also has a lower debt to GDP ratio than the US does.

A good economy will not sustain the damage of massive, irresponsible spending and an unsustainable population growth rate:
http://assets.knowledge.allianz.com/...0dpi_19931.jpg

And the US really isn't a good measure to compare to--as I said, we also have an unsustainable system. We're not as bad off as Greece but if we don't fundamentally change our system, in the not too distant future we will be.

sugarkang 06-28-2011 10:35 AM

Re: Political Philosophy and Wilt Chamberlain (Matthew Yglesias & Julian Sanchez)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Hal Morris (Post 214466)
It also illustrates how, from such a starting point, things will drift towards inequality, and sort of plausibly takes us up to the point where one extraordinarily gifted person might be making ten times what the average person makes (according to a previous post citing a $100,000/yr salary).

I think it's important to understand a key difference between liberals and libertarians with regard to fundamental premises. We keep talking in circles and we should rather get to the heart of the issue.

1. what does "wealth" mean?
2. is "equality," whether of outcome or opportunity, a good thing per se?

Libertarians, at least this one, do not measure wealth in dollar terms. Secondly, this evil bastard does not believe equality to be a good thing nor do I think that inequality is a good thing, either. In either case, inequality seems an important, natural state of things. (unlike true freedom to murder)

Here's my key argument against John Rawls. If we are all supposed to imagine some minimum standard that we could bare to be with in the world, then that's the minimum we should work toward for our bottom quintile. But again, what is wealth? And if you are born beautiful and I am born ugly, should you be taxed on your beauty? Should you pay for my plastic surgery? Should we pay to make everyone somewhat beautiful? And if everyone is beautiful, will everyone still be beautiful?

The greatest part of life, is death. Without death, your life has no meaning.

Interestingly, I have a more convincing case for Rawls, but I've yet to see it posited by any liberal here.

badhatharry 06-28-2011 10:35 AM

Re: Political Philosophy and Wilt Chamberlain (Matthew Yglesias & Julian Sanchez)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Hal Morris (Post 214466)
This rough equality has been mostly demolished over the past 30 years. Legitimate concerns over high taxes have led to throwing out the baby with the bathwater.

Is it any wonder that both left and right leaning movements and institutions are floated and largely controlled by the richest of the rich? We are looking in many ways more and more like 18th-19th century England, the ideal of those "old liberal" (libertarian) thinkers like John Stuart Mill.

Could you expand on the first paragraph? It brings so many questions to my mind. What makes you say that equality has been demolished? Are the poor today not better off than the poor of the 60s and 70s? Do you think that huge income disparity will ever be permanently or even semi permanently sustainable in this country? How do we keep 300 million people down?

In the second paragraph you seem to be saying that evidence of the demolition of 'rough equality' is that the rich control politics, left and right. I am wondering if this is seriously any different than at any other time in our country.

miceelf 06-28-2011 10:42 AM

Re: Political Philosophy and Wilt Chamberlain (Matthew Yglesias & Julian Sanchez)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by operative (Post 214475)
A good economy will not sustain the damage of massive, irresponsible spending and an unsustainable population growth rate:

Right, because birth is clearly the only way of sustaining one's population.

And I agree with you about the unsustainability of our historically low tax rates.
:-P

operative 06-28-2011 10:44 AM

Re: Political Philosophy and Wilt Chamberlain (Matthew Yglesias & Julian Sanchez)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by miceelf (Post 214479)
Right, because birth is clearly the only way of sustaining one's population.

You can't import your talent pool forever. Eventually the countries you are importing from (as well as other countries around you) will grow stronger economically and keep more of their people. I'm all for importing as many Indians, Koreans, Chinese etc. as we can possibly get, but I know that this is not a sustainable approach. We need more Americans to reject the anti-intellectualism that's dominant in our culture and embrace learning and the pursuit of knowledge.

sugarkang 06-28-2011 10:57 AM

Re: Political Philosophy and Wilt Chamberlain (Matthew Yglesias & Julian Sanchez)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by operative (Post 214481)
I'm all for importing as many Indians, Koreans, Chinese etc. as we can possibly get, but I know that this is not a sustainable approach.

Heh. That's assuming we can import them. Rather, it looks like we're exporting them at this point:

Quote:

"But Silicon Valley is the most open, inclusive place in the world and pays premium salaries to top engineering talent, especially from Stanford. And immigrants thrive in the Valley: they start 52% of its startups.

So why are the Stanford grads leaving? I asked five of them to tell their own stories."


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