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  #81  
Old 06-28-2011, 05:45 PM
chiwhisoxx chiwhisoxx is offline
 
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Default Re: Political Philosophy and Wilt Chamberlain (Matthew Yglesias & Julian Sanchez)

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Originally Posted by popcorn_karate View Post
I think Matt's point was that the technical reading of Nozick's argument is irrelevant to political discourse because that is not how we do politics in the U.S.A. The non-technical, bastardized version of his arguments are what live in the minds of libertarians (see sugarK's constant refrain about coercion, for example) and some conservatives, so that shallow understanding should be refuted - which is what the article did.

The author should have been clear about what he was doing, but overall I'm happy the article was written and it does a good job of eviscerating the ignorant understanding of Nozick's arguments that are used in popular politics.
it seems pretty clear to me that Metcalf's article was trying to eviscerate Nozick himself, not the common understanding of his work. what you seem to perceive as "him not being clear enough" seems much more likely to be "Metcalf has no clue what the fuck he's talking about"
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  #82  
Old 06-28-2011, 06:01 PM
stephanie stephanie is offline
 
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Default Re: Political Philosophy and Wilt Chamberlain (Matthew Yglesias & Julian Sanchez)

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Originally Posted by chiwhisoxx View Post
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.
There was actually some talk about this in the diavlog, so it might be interesting to link your thoughts with what was said.

Personally, I don't see anything in the post to which you were responding that would allow you to conclude an absence of such a basis. That has been largely answered by the poster anyway, so I'll go on to the more interesting bit of the post to me.

Quote:
these understandings are often rooted in grappling with important works in the field.
True, although also through other means, as was discussed in the diavlog.

One problem I see is that in our current society you have both involvement by many not particularly educated people, which many will argue is good. Or at least many on both sides -- and not least on the RW side -- will argue is a positive and anyone claiming otherwise is a negative. They would point to the day to day concerns of living or running a busines or working with their hands or balancing a check book or raising a family or whatever as all we need to know.

Another problem, and one that interests me somewhat more, is that we lack a consensus, even compared to 50 years ago, regarding what an educated person should have read. I have my ideas, you have yours, but it's certainly possible for a well-educated person to graduate from college without having read numerous works others will consider crucial. And even to live to a ripe old age and not fill in all the holes everyone thinks should be filled. It's impossible.

It's actually why Julian's point about the RW identification and education plans is interesting (okay, that's a somewhat unfair way to describe it, but the same kind of thing was going on back when I was in school too, and actually was an advantage for those willing to take advantage of it and be groomed and cultivated). Absent going to a school that still has a strong core and running into students who also went to that school, it's one of the few sources of a really common base of knowledge, especially in economics and philosophy. I wish we could assume otherwise, but I doubt it.

And I'm all for Nozick, but if I were constructing a core, he wouldn't make it.
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  #83  
Old 06-28-2011, 06:12 PM
stephanie stephanie is offline
 
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Default Re: Political Philosophy and Wilt Chamberlain (Matthew Yglesias & Julian Sanchez)

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Originally Posted by Florian View Post
Can you even imagine Europeans consulting what people thought about child rearing in the 18th century to decide what laws should be applicable in the 21st century?
Much as I hate to defend Clarence Thomas, he was consulting 18th century thought not to give child-rearing advice, but in connection with an opinion about whether the Constitution intended to grant first amendment rights to children separate from their parents.

Scalia slammed him for his conclusion, too, and none of the other justices took Thomas' side.
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  #84  
Old 06-28-2011, 06:17 PM
stephanie stephanie is offline
 
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Default Re: Political Philosophy and Wilt Chamberlain (Matthew Yglesias & Julian Sanchez)

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Originally Posted by ledocs View Post
I am guessing, partly a priori, but partly based upon glancing at some of the comments here, that you and Yglesias fail, like Metcalf, to go through the argument of the hypothetical in any detail.
Good guess.

It's too bad, as that would have been interesting, although the discussion was enjoyable anyway. The topic was just somewhat misleading.
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  #85  
Old 06-28-2011, 06:48 PM
Hal Morris Hal Morris is offline
 
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Default Re: Political Philosophy and Wilt Chamberlain (Matthew Yglesias & Julian Sanchez)

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Originally Posted by badhatharry View Post
Just in case you aren't amongst the millions of people who have seen these two videos...

Boom and Bust
Fight of the Century

These have converted a fair number of people, also.
Hmmm, hard to know what to make of that statement. How does that make you feel, Mr. Badhat, or Harry if I may call you that? I think the cartoon had more depth. A dear friend who is both an avowed libertarian and a fan of Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin, showed me at least one of those videos. I'd hate to think anyone actually changed their position based on them.

As for that sort of satire, I'm much more entertained by "The Key of Awesome". The one sort of political thing they did (mostly they go after folks like Justin Bieber, Batman, and Vampires) was "I've got a man-crush on Jack Bauer".
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  #86  
Old 06-28-2011, 07:30 PM
Hal Morris Hal Morris is offline
 
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Default Re: Political Philosophy and Wilt Chamberlain (Matthew Yglesias & Julian Sanchez)

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Originally Posted by sugarkang View Post
No, this is the typical Marxist (not exaggerating) view of how wealth works. You have already assumed that workers created wealth and that the capitalists have usurped it.

Larry and Sergey of Google are billionaires. They are in the top 0.1% of rich people in the nation. Have they made your life measurably worse?
Are you a real person or a bot? I'm getting the impression that when something I say matches certain search criteria, I get a certain canned response. Not that you're terribly unusual; a lot of people on blogs argue that way (hey maybe you're all bots - I never thought of that before).

I was making a statement based on what I think is plausible empirical data. A coherent response would be "Where's your data" or even "I just don't believe that". Not "You think that way because you assume ... whatever" which you have no idea about.

As for google, a case can be made that the big "Internet 2.0" players are helping lay the groundwork for the catastrophe that will result from so many groups of people spending so much time in their own echo-chamber-like news aggregators and suchlike instruments. [see http://therealtruthproject.blogspot....er-effect.html (mine) or http://thelurkingvulture.blogspot.co...er-effect.html (the work of an Ann Coulter-loving "Christian Libertarian"). By the way, crazy Islamic fundamentalists with violent streaks have their own wonderful (for them) echo chambers, which help them keep in touch with their crazy ideas while working as a counselor at Fort Bragg or something like that (far from the mosques of the middle east or even Brooklyn for that matter).

There is always a tendency for power to get more and more centralized, and I think we have to constantly observe what new forms this takes and guard against it using moderate, not draconian, means. People seem unable to escape the blindness that has them trying to eliminate one manipulative out of control power monster by just creating another one. It's what Lenin did in the early 20th century and what the Friedmanian market Bolsheviks did to Russia again at the end of the 20th century, and I'm afraid it is what we will do to ourselves in the Tea Party hysterical mode so many people have gotten themselves into.
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  #87  
Old 06-28-2011, 07:57 PM
sugarkang sugarkang is offline
 
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Default Re: Political Philosophy and Wilt Chamberlain (Matthew Yglesias & Julian Sanchez)

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Originally Posted by Hal Morris View Post
It's what Lenin did in the early 20th century and what the Friedmanian market Bolsheviks did to Russia again at the end of the 20th century, and I'm afraid it is what we will do to ourselves in the Tea Party hysterical mode so many people have gotten themselves into.
Put down the Naomi Klein books, pick up the Milton Friedman books and then unlearn all the Marxist crap you've been taught. Let's start from there.
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  #88  
Old 06-28-2011, 08:26 PM
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Default Wherein we swear off coke or kock ... sucka

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Originally Posted by sugarkang View Post
Put down the Naomi Klein books, pick up the Milton Friedman books and then unlearn all the Marxist crap you've been taught. Let's start from there.
Quote:
#20 | Julian Sanchez | June 28th, 2011 at 4:54 pm
My only beef with you Radley, is your sensitivity to the Koch-smear. Given the passionate resistance you have to it, one would have to conclude there may be some truth to it.

Ye gods this is irritating. If someone writes a high profile magazine article (or many) suggesting that everyone whos ever worked anywhere that got a drop of Koch money is a shill whoring their opinion to the highest bidder, and the targets of the insinuation take offense and push back, its Thou dost protest too much! Guess they struck a nerve, eh?

If, on the other hand, we ignore the insult, its: You certainly dont seem to want to talk about the Koch allegations, huh? Your silence speaks volumes!

That said, given that its sort of a no-win, Ill default to ignoring it, which at least doesnt burn any time or energy.
http://www.theagitator.com/2011/06/2...-to-john-cole/

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I've seen it mentioned on this board about libertarianism being a vague abstraction and childish nonsense
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Do the Koch brothers pay you too?
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  #89  
Old 06-28-2011, 08:33 PM
T.G.G.P T.G.G.P is offline
 
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Default Re: Political Philosophy and Wilt Chamberlain (Matthew Yglesias & Julian Sanchez)

There are people who make the Kantian argument that nobody should ever have children. They're called antinatalists.
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  #90  
Old 06-28-2011, 10:16 PM
JonIrenicus JonIrenicus is offline
 
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Default Panda test

This test determines whether a person is evil or not. If they don't like the following video, they are evil.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xk28qGbgRrE


Pandas are far above dogs (sorry Bob's Frasier) and cats (sorry Aryeh) on the likability scale. They are the opposite of sea lampreys.
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  #91  
Old 06-28-2011, 10:45 PM
brucds brucds is offline
 
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Default Re: Political Philosophy and Wilt Chamberlain (Matthew Yglesias & Julian Sanchez)

badhat - you demonstrate the same analytical incompetence as "sugarkang"

Answer the question about Nozick's ridiculous "though experiment" - ridiculous insofar as it has anything to do with real-world policy related to income inequality - that was key to my comment. The rest of it you can shove back where you pulled it from...
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  #92  
Old 06-28-2011, 11:09 PM
sugarkang sugarkang is offline
 
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Default Re: Political Philosophy and Wilt Chamberlain (Matthew Yglesias & Julian Sanchez)

brucds, you're, like, all of the troll with none of the fun.
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  #93  
Old 06-28-2011, 11:26 PM
look look is offline
 
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Default Re: Political Philosophy and Wilt Chamberlain (Matthew Yglesias & Julian Sanchez)

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brucds, you're, like, all of the troll with none of the fun.
He makes you look like Cinderella

So brucds is worried about income inequality.
sugarkang thinks that the disparity in the US is not a problem because the poor are eating and have gadgets, especially compared to the rest of the world.
Hal thinks it's a waste of time to argue about words like wealth that have a standard, colloquial meaning.
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  #94  
Old 06-28-2011, 11:30 PM
sugarkang sugarkang is offline
 
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Default Re: Political Philosophy and Wilt Chamberlain (Matthew Yglesias & Julian Sanchez)

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He makes you look like Cinderella
Man, I'm just happy that you didn't mischaracterize my basic position.
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  #95  
Old 06-28-2011, 11:31 PM
operative operative is offline
 
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Default Re: Political Philosophy and Wilt Chamberlain (Matthew Yglesias & Julian Sanchez)

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Originally Posted by look View Post
He makes you look like Cinderella

So brucds is worried about income inequality.
sugarkang thinks that the disparity in the US is not a problem because the poor are eating and have gadgets, especially compared to the rest of the world.
Hal thinks it's a waste of time to argue about words like wealth that have a standard, colloquial meaning.
I think that the only position of freedom can be that income inequality is not a problem unless that inequality was attained through unjust means. Matt and Julian cover this nicely in the video--the landed wealth in Czarist Russia in no way attained their wealth justly. In America today, however, people do attain wealth justly, and those who wish to take it away from them in the interest of some artificial 'equality' are barking up the jealousy tree.
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  #96  
Old 06-28-2011, 11:43 PM
look look is offline
 
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Default Re: Political Philosophy and Wilt Chamberlain (Matthew Yglesias & Julian Sanchez)

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Originally Posted by operative View Post
I think that the only position of freedom can be that income inequality is not a problem unless that inequality was attained through unjust means. Matt and Julian cover this nicely in the video--the landed wealth in Czarist Russia in no way attained their wealth justly. In America today, however, people do attain wealth justly, and those who wish to take it away from them in the interest of some artificial 'equality' are barking up the jealousy tree.
I recently saw part of a documentary series that I can't recall the name of. One section told the story of American investors creating a construction/housing boom in Indonesia(?) and then the bubble burst. The IMF came in long enough to put money in the banks, the Americans withdrew their investments, and left the country in a dire finacial mess. The narrator went on to say that this was repeated in our recent financial meltdown.
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  #97  
Old 06-28-2011, 11:48 PM
operative operative is offline
 
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Default Re: Political Philosophy and Wilt Chamberlain (Matthew Yglesias & Julian Sanchez)

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Originally Posted by look View Post
I recently saw part of a documentary series that I can't recall the name of. One section told the story of American investors creating a construction/housing boom in Indonesia(?) and then the bubble burst. The IMF came in long enough to put money in the banks, the Americans withdrew their investments, and left the country in a dire finacial mess. The narrator went on to say that this was repeated in our recent financial meltdown.
Hmm. I most like the explanation "We thought we were richer than we were." The government artificially inflated the housing market and inspired people who shouldn't have been purchasing houses to purchase them, and those who should've purchased cheaper homes to purchase more expensive homes. In other words, it encouraged people to live beyond their means and not consider the potential long-term consequences. This led to an unsustainable inflationary effect on housing values and the inevitable burst of the bubble.
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  #98  
Old 06-28-2011, 11:50 PM
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Default Re: Political Philosophy and Wilt Chamberlain (Matthew Yglesias & Julian Sanchez)

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Originally Posted by operative View Post
Hmm. I most like the explanation "We thought we were richer than we were." The government artificially inflated the housing market and inspired people who shouldn't have been purchasing houses to purchase them, and those who should've purchased cheaper homes to purchase more expensive homes. In other words, it encouraged people to live beyond their means and not consider the potential long-term consequences. This led to an unsustainable inflationary effect on housing values and the inevitable burst of the bubble.
Damn you.
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  #99  
Old 06-28-2011, 11:54 PM
sugarkang sugarkang is offline
 
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Default Re: Political Philosophy and Wilt Chamberlain (Matthew Yglesias & Julian Sanchez)

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Originally Posted by operative View Post
Hmm. I most like the explanation "We thought we were richer than we were." The government artificially inflated the housing market and inspired people who shouldn't have been purchasing houses to purchase them, and those who should've purchased cheaper homes to purchase more expensive homes. In other words, it encouraged people to live beyond their means and not consider the potential long-term consequences. This led to an unsustainable inflationary effect on housing values and the inevitable burst of the bubble.
Robert Shiller covered this in a diavlog here and in his book The Subprime Solution. BTW, he's a Neo-Keynesian and he thinks we need more derivatives. And then here's Ezra Klein actually saying some truth about that leftist liar piece Inside Job.

I have to think that Annie Lowrey is having a good effect on him. At least she understands economics. Also, Ezra deserves props, even if it's waaaaay later than when the movie came out to minimize the leftist wrath. (see comment section)
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  #100  
Old 06-28-2011, 11:59 PM
operative operative is offline
 
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Default Re: Political Philosophy and Wilt Chamberlain (Matthew Yglesias & Julian Sanchez)

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Originally Posted by sugarkang View Post
Robert Shiller covered this in a diavlog here and in his book The Subprime Solution. BTW, he's a Neo-Keynesian and he thinks we need more derivatives. And then here's Ezra Klein actually saying some truth about that leftist liar piece Inside Job.

I have to think that Annie Lowrey is having a good effect on him. At least she understands economics. Also, Ezra deserves props, even if it's waaaaay later than when the movie came out to minimize the leftist wrath. (see comment section)
Inside Job was a downright frightening film--it dishonestly attacked an entire academic discipline, called for a witch hunt based on emotion and not specific legal thought, and proposed disastrous and authoritarian solutions. It's straight from the Hugo Chavez wing of the Left.
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  #101  
Old 06-29-2011, 12:16 AM
sugarkang sugarkang is offline
 
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Default Re: Political Philosophy and Wilt Chamberlain (Matthew Yglesias & Julian Sanchez)

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Inside Job was a downright frightening film
Yeah, frightening in the unintended way. I'm telling you, that's why libertarians need documentaries. The left just eats this shit up. You can't win with facts and logic. Nobody likes that crap.
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  #102  
Old 06-29-2011, 01:14 AM
chiwhisoxx chiwhisoxx is offline
 
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Default Re: Political Philosophy and Wilt Chamberlain (Matthew Yglesias & Julian Sanchez)

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Originally Posted by brucds View Post
badhat - you demonstrate the same analytical incompetence as "sugarkang"

Answer the question about Nozick's ridiculous "though experiment" - ridiculous insofar as it has anything to do with real-world policy related to income inequality - that was key to my comment. The rest of it you can shove back where you pulled it from...
you understand the purpose of thought experiments in philosophy really, really, really, really well.
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  #103  
Old 06-29-2011, 03:19 AM
ledocs ledocs is offline
 
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Default Re: Political Philosophy and Wilt Chamberlain (Matthew Yglesias & Julian Sanchez)

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Why is the libertarian cult getting a diavlog when there's so much news going on?
Excellent question. Robert Wright obviously has an interest in the cult, it might be financial, it might be intellectual, it might be both.

One is struck by how little interest there is in actually discussing Nozick's argument. This reminds me of another "conservative" cult, that of the acolytes of Leo Strauss. "But you don't understand the argument." "Then explain it to me." "Sorry, I can't, it's too subtle for you, it's only for initiates." Then one begins to get the feeling that the argument is so subtle that the adepts themselves are at an utter loss to explain it, which turns out to be advantageous from a sociological point of view, so long as there is money willing to back the cult. And in the case of every "conservative" cult, there is money, and lots of it.
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  #104  
Old 06-29-2011, 03:33 AM
Florian Florian is offline
 
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Default Re: Political Philosophy and Wilt Chamberlain (Matthew Yglesias & Julian Sanchez)

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Originally Posted by stephanie View Post
Much as I hate to defend Clarence Thomas, he was consulting 18th century thought not to give child-rearing advice, but in connection with an opinion about whether the Constitution intended to grant first amendment rights to children separate from their parents.

Scalia slammed him for his conclusion, too, and none of the other justices took Thomas' side.
I was well aware of that, but the fact remains that Thomas thought that a question of law--the rights of children in 2011---could be settled or at least clarified by what the authors of the constitution thought about child rearing in the 18th century.

My remark was an aside to Mannish Boy, who may have misunderstood my original comment. I didn't mean to say that American politics have become more ideological and less pragmatic as a result of firmly held philosophical principles, but as a result of blind reverence for the principles of their constitution. The reverence in which some American jurists hold the constitution and the "original intent" of the founders is in direct relation to their lack of philosophical and historical culture.

Here is what I said in conclusion:

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..
That is the crucial difference between the US and Europe in the year 2011. No one in Europe believes anymore that state and society are antithetical.

Last edited by Florian; 06-29-2011 at 03:51 AM..
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  #105  
Old 06-29-2011, 04:02 AM
ledocs ledocs is offline
 
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Default Re: Political Philosophy and Wilt Chamberlain (Matthew Yglesias & Julian Sanchez)

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I didn't mean to say that American politics have become more ideological and less pragmatic as a result of firmly held philosophical principles, but as a result of blind reverence for the principles of their constitution. The reverence in which some American jurists hold the constitution and the "original intent" of the founders is in direct relation to their lack of philosophical and historical culture.
I think you and I are very much on the same page as regards original intent, but it cannot be an accident that the original intent crowd currently on the court is coming from the educational tradition of the US Catholic Church. So I'm not sure that it is entirely correct to say that this tradition lacks philosophical and historical culture. It's just that it is a tradition which has no difficulty in treating with religious reverence an historical document. They have simply transferred their desire for divinely revealed authority to the constitution. And the arbitrariness of the particular revelation is precisely what constitutes its appeal, at least this is the impression I have of Scalia's psychology. "We have to believe in something, otherwise there is nihilism, so why not the US Constitution?" I have never understood why the Eleatic Stranger's criticism of written constitutions as inherently inflexible (Plato, "Statesman", I think 287ff) and inappropriate to the ever-changing nature of human political life never arises for the original intent crowd (not that I have seen this cited by their liberal opponents either).

And I actually think that the constitution could easily be America's downfall. Federalism is hopelessly outdated (states competing with one another in a race to the bottom in the provision of services), the Senate is unrepresentative and much too powerful, First Amendment doctrine is fraught with difficulties (like Floyd Abrams defending the rating agencies' immunity from civil suit, the peculiar turn that campaign finance doctrine has taken, money = speech), there are many, many things about the constitution which are turning out to be inimical to the health of the polity, or to the nurture of an educated electorate.
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  #106  
Old 06-29-2011, 04:37 AM
Florian Florian is offline
 
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Default Re: Political Philosophy and Wilt Chamberlain (Matthew Yglesias & Julian Sanchez)

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I think you and I are very much on the same page as regards original intent, but it cannot be an accident that the original intent crowd currently on the court is coming from the educational tradition of the US Catholic Church. So I'm not sure that it is entirely correct to say that this tradition lacks philosophical and historical culture. It's just that it is a tradition which has no difficulty in treating with religious reverence an historical document. They have simply transferred their desire for divinely revealed authority to the constitution. And the arbitrariness of the particular revelation is precisely what constitutes its appeal, at least this is the impression I have of Scalia's psychology. "We have to believe in something, otherwise there is nihilism, so why not the US Constitution?" .
Interesting and I think very pertinent point. Roman Catholics, historically, always had tendency to believe in the immutability of doctrine as represented by the Church, and to look to civil institutions to enforce orthodoxy. The conservative tradition in France, now more or less dead, was Catholic, reactionary and in its later stages nationalistic (Maurras). Although Maurras supposedly said: "There is no God and the Virgin Mary is his mother."

Quote:
I have never understood why the Eleatic Stranger's criticism of written constitutions as inherently inflexible (Plato, "Statesman", I think 287ff) and inappropriate to the ever-changing nature of human political life never arises for the original intent crowd (not that I have seen this cited by their liberal opponents either).
Another reason, perhaps, to introduce philosophy to American highschools? The only problem, of course, is that analytic philosophers know nothing about the history of philosophy.

Quote:
And I actually think that the constitution could easily be America's downfall. Federalism is hopelessly outdated (states competing with one another in a race to the bottom in the provision of services), the Senate is unrepresentative and much too powerful, First Amendment doctrine is fraught with difficulties (like Floyd Abrams defending the rating agencies' immunity from civil suit, the peculiar turn that campaign finance doctrine has taken, money = speech), there are many, many things about the constitution which are turning out to be inimical to the health of the polity, or to the nurture of an educated electorate.
Alas, I am afraid you are right. But the Roman Empire took a long time to fall.

Last edited by Florian; 06-29-2011 at 04:40 AM..
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  #107  
Old 06-29-2011, 05:12 AM
sugarkang sugarkang is offline
 
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Default Re: Political Philosophy and Wilt Chamberlain (Matthew Yglesias & Julian Sanchez)

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The reverence in which some American jurists hold the constitution and the "original intent" of the founders is in direct relation to their lack of philosophical and historical culture.



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Originally Posted by ledocs View Post
And I actually think that the constitution could easily be America's downfall.
Well, if you had warned us of this premonition, say 60 years ago, we wouldn't have bailed out all of Western Europe under the Marshall Plan. Psst: YOU'RE WELCOME!
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  #108  
Old 06-29-2011, 05:34 AM
Florian Florian is offline
 
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Well, if you had warned us of this premonition, say 60 years ago, we wouldn't have bailed out all of Western Europe under the Marshall Plan. Psst: YOU'RE WELCOME!
You do have a gift for irrelevancy and for derailing the conversation. No doubt it is related to your political persuasion. Libertarians are rather scatter-brained, I have noticed.
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  #109  
Old 06-29-2011, 06:30 AM
ledocs ledocs is offline
 
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Default Re: Political Philosophy and Wilt Chamberlain (Matthew Yglesias & Julian Sanchez)

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Well, if you had warned us of this premonition, say 60 years ago, we wouldn't have bailed out all of Western Europe under the Marshall Plan. Psst: YOU'RE WELCOME!
I would have warned you, sugarpops, but I had only just been born 60 years ago. I began to become aware of the cult of the US Constitution and its dangers during adolescence. I do have to congratulate you on that graphic, though, quite amusing. Sugar Pops are tops!

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  #110  
Old 06-29-2011, 06:45 AM
Hume's Bastard Hume's Bastard is offline
 
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Default Re: Political Philosophy and Wilt Chamberlain (Matthew Yglesias & Julian Sanchez)

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Originally Posted by ledocs View Post
Excellent question. Robert Wright obviously has an interest in the cult, it might be financial, it might be intellectual, it might be both.

One is struck by how little interest there is in actually discussing Nozick's argument. This reminds me of another "conservative" cult, that of the acolytes of Leo Strauss. "But you don't understand the argument." "Then explain it to me." "Sorry, I can't, it's too subtle for you, it's only for initiates." Then one begins to get the feeling that the argument is so subtle that the adepts themselves are at an utter loss to explain it, which turns out to be advantageous from a sociological point of view, so long as there is money willing to back the cult. And in the case of every "conservative" cult, there is money, and lots of it.
Reading this I'm reminded of that quip, "Just because you're paranoid, doesn't mean someone isn't after you." Or, that I appreciate your echoing of my rant. Maybe this was part of a plot to endear the WinB feature, because Wisconsin, Florida, the WalMart decision, gay marriage, etc. are Scher's bailiwick. At which point, I'll cave: I love you Bill!

But, hey, bh.tv staff, ledocs has thrown down an argument, and two 'heads should debate whether he's dead on or a conspiracy theorist!

On a substantive point, fuck Nozick and Rawls! Read Rousseau, Hume, Kant, Locke, Hobbes. At some point after the James brothers (and supposedly Alice James was better than both her brothers), academicians forgot how to write (or think). For those with a conservative liability, I recommend Hobbes' Leviathan. The last two books are usually ignored, but I found "Christian Commonwealth" revelatory (pun intended) and "Kingdom of Darkness" both better than fantasy and illiminating. There's also this podcast on Smith, so that the market fundis can stop taking Adam Smith's name in vain.
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  #111  
Old 06-29-2011, 07:46 AM
Ocean Ocean is offline
 
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Default Re: Political Philosophy and Wilt Chamberlain (Matthew Yglesias & Julian Sanchez)

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Originally Posted by ledocs View Post
... it is a tradition which has no difficulty in treating with religious reverence an historical document. They have simply transferred their desire for divinely revealed authority to the constitution.
Thank you for your comment. It captures an aspect of our culture and the political system that is becoming absurd in its extreme application. Perhaps the SC should take it upon themselves to declare that some principles in the constitution may not apply to our current society and call for new definitions. I guess that would make them Protestants.
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  #112  
Old 06-29-2011, 08:34 AM
operative operative is offline
 
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Default Re: Political Philosophy and Wilt Chamberlain (Matthew Yglesias & Julian Sanchez)

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Originally Posted by ledocs View Post

And I actually think that the constitution could easily be America's downfall.
We have the longest active system of government of any relevant state on Earth, by far, and this is in no small part due to our Constitution, namely its focus on negative liberty. The Constitution itself will never be the cause of America's downfall, but if people like Barack Obama insist on continuing to add accretions and shift the focus to fictitious "positive" liberty, we will certainly be heading toward downfall. Our looming debt crisis is the biggest threat today. But then many Euro countries are in worse shape.
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  #113  
Old 06-29-2011, 08:53 AM
graz graz is offline
 
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Default Re: Political Philosophy and Wilt Chamberlain (Matthew Yglesias & Julian Sanchez)

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Originally Posted by chiwhisoxx View Post
you understand the purpose of thought experiments in philosophy really, really, really, really well.
They're keeping a spot warm for you at Cato or Reason. You needn't worry about your really, really, really unsophisticated style of rebuttal. Just start voicing concern about prison rape and police overreach. No understanding of philosophical tracts necessary, listening to Tool and System of a Down will suffice. You may be the Pepsi generation but Koch pays better.
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  #114  
Old 06-29-2011, 10:52 AM
Florian Florian is offline
 
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Default Re: Political Philosophy and Wilt Chamberlain (Matthew Yglesias & Julian Sanchez)

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We have the longest active system of government of any relevant state on Earth, by far, and this is in no small part due to our Constitution, namely its focus on negative liberty..
Longest active system of government of any relevant state on earth? What in the world does that mean? In particular, why do you think that the US is the only "relevant" state? Are seriously suggesting that the histories of France and Britain, for example, are less relevant---to whom?---less interesting---to whom?---less important---to whom?---than the history of the US? This is American exceptionalism at its most naive, ignorant and comical.

No one disputes that the US is the oldest constitutional democracy. I am afraid you will have to explain what you mean by negative and positive freedom. I am familiar with this rather unfortunate terminology, first introduced into Anglo-American thought by Isaiah Berlin. But you are just using the words as slogans to express your dislike of social democracy. If you think rights (negative freedom) are less well protected in European countries than in the US, you are mistaken.


Quote:
The Constitution itself will never be the cause of America's downfall, but if people like Barack Obama insist on continuing to add accretions and shift the focus to fictitious "positive" liberty, we will certainly be heading toward downfall. Our looming debt crisis is the biggest threat today. But then many Euro countries are in worse shape.
That remains to be seen.
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  #115  
Old 06-29-2011, 11:18 AM
operative operative is offline
 
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Default Re: Political Philosophy and Wilt Chamberlain (Matthew Yglesias & Julian Sanchez)

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Longest active system of government of any relevant state on earth? What in the world does that mean? In particular, why do you think that the US is the only "relevant" state? Are seriously suggesting that the histories of France and Britain, for example, are less relevant---to whom?---less interesting---to whom?---less important---to whom?---than the history of the US? This is American exceptionalism at its most naive, ignorant and comical.
I should've specified longest active Constitution of any relevant country; I forget the number of constitutions that France has been through in that time. I was thinking of San Marino, which has the longest active constitution but is not a country that matters.

Quote:
No one disputes that the US is the oldest constitutional democracy. I am afraid you will have to explain what you mean by negative and positive freedom. I am familiar with this rather unfortunate terminology, first introduced into Anglo-American thought by Isaiah Berlin. But you are just using the words as slogans to express your dislike of social democracy. If you think rights (negative freedom) are less well protected in European countries than in the US, you are mistaken.
When you define a state by what the government can not do to its citizens, you are naturally establishing a more secure system because the people will be invigorated by a lack of restrictions, unconstrained, and will look to themselves and their organic community for their fulfillment. When you define it by positive liberty (the very concept is self-contradictory because so-called positive liberties involve sacrifices made to the state and result in obligations to the state), you build an unsustainable set of expectations. Then, when the state is eventually unable to make good on its unsustainable promises (built on by self-interested politicians who continually kick the can down the road until it blows up), social unrest builds until the institutions collapse. We're seeing it now with Greece, and we'll probably see it with Portugal in the future. Those are warning cries for richer and more developed countries (such as France and the US): abandon the welfare state while you still can without institutional collapse.



Quote:
That remains to be seen.
It remains to be seen what the specific consequences will be, but the combination of low to negative population growth and skyrocketing public debt can have no positive outcome.
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  #116  
Old 06-29-2011, 11:25 AM
stephanie stephanie is offline
 
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Default Re: Political Philosophy and Wilt Chamberlain (Matthew Yglesias & Julian Sanchez)

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Originally Posted by chiwhisoxx View Post
you understand the purpose of thought experiments in philosophy really, really, really, really well.
I fail to appreciate the significance of the defense "it was a thought experiment" with respect to Metcalf's argument. Metcalf should have been clearer about the point of his article, IMO, because it's the kind of article we don't expect to find in a general interest/political publication in the US so have no context for it. The temptation seems to be to read it as if he were trying to make a philosophical argument, which he clearly can't have been. The article doesn't go about it like a philosophical argument, and the forum is just not appropriate, nor is the readership. So reading it as such an effort and declaring it a failure on that basis is just odd, IMO.

I'm wondering if Florian reacted positively to the article because it's more similar to the type of thing one might run into in France. I know Florian defended that BHL article in part because it was a rant or some similar style that he said would have been familiar in France, but seemed odd or problematic to Americans. It seemed to me that Metcalf was mainly saying "these are the kinds of arguments made by respectible libertarians, not merely that libertarianism is more efficient, so on, but real claims about justice. If we look at the kinds of arguments made for that, though, they are unrelated to any real world arguments."

This isn't a philosophical argument, but it is a political one, and taking note of the rhetorical tools employed by Nozick, the particular nature of the example, is part of that.

I looked back at Nozick and specifically the Chamberlain example and context of it, and I looked at the Metcalf article again to see if he really seemed ignorant of the point Nozick was making or the context of the explain, as has been so fervently asserted by those who seem weirdly upset by the article. (And I say weirdly because I've seen plenty of dumb things written about Aristotle and so on, and yet no fury on the internet in response.)

Anyway, I don't think Metcalf did at all indicate the kind of ignorance you insist he did. It seems like the great sin committed by Metcalf is that he fails to mention that the Wilt Chamberlain example is not intended to be an argument for any particular theory of justice on its own, but a transaction that we could all see as fair, and thus one that messed up any preexisting distribution. Now, this assumes that anyone agrees with a distribution that would have to remain constant. For example, if one bought into "utility to society," there would not necessarily be a disconnect between Wilt's salary and utility, depending on how we defined utility. Fun is useful! I'm not going to speculate on Wilt's morality and how it would be reflected by his basketball ability, except to say that I think it's fair to say that what Nozick is setting up here is a bit of a strawman.

I have other objections to the argument, this is merely the most relevant.

What Metcalf points out is different, though. Contary to various assertiosn, he does acknowledge that the Chamberlain example is taking place in the supposed dream society of the distributivist in which some ideal distribution has occurred.* But then he complains that Wilt's salary is set up to seem just, and thus to show that the perfect distribution would prevent some just result and further require that the state act to take it away. The problem with this illustration, Metcalf says, is that it bears no relationship to the real nature of transactions, and thus it cannot demonstrate whether a society which refused to allow such transactions (or regularly employed coercion to enforce the existing set up) would be unjust in some sense.

But that wasn't the point! Nozick's defenders complaint. He's not trying to show that society as a whole is just -- not through the Wilt Chamberlain example. He's just showing that liberty upsets your pattern. I think that's a fair complaint if we are carefully working through Nozick's argument. But in the bigger picture discussion, I think Metcalf has a point. This argument was chosen to try and show that patterns and their enforcement are inherently unjust. That there's something bad about the fact that we'd supposedly need to constantly interfere to preclude the result here. And thus Metcalf is not wrong to point out that there are aspects of the example -- an athlete benefiting from his own skill and money paid by people who are freely choosing to spend it due to pleasure resulting therefrom -- which amount to weighing the argument heavily in his Nozick's rhetorical favor based on the overall world of transactions. Metcalf is not arguing unfairly to say "wait a minute, this is nothing like how transactions work in the real world."

Matt made what seems to me a similar practical point in the course of the discussion. He just didn't try to couch it as a commentary on Nozick. So why did Metcalf do that? I think this goes back to the point about the type of article it was and Florian's article -- he just wanted to get some discussion going about Nozick and libertarian philosophizing and the types of arguments that we use in political discussions, and found this a convenient and interesting way of doing it. IMO, that's a valid purpose, although not philosophy, of course.

*It seems to me that some are accusing Metcalf of ignoring this and assuming it occurs in some other context. A fair question would be how the transaction can even occur in the context of this society, though -- what is the mechanism the society uses to distribute, if we supposedly can make the transaction between the team owner, who gets profits from tickets, and a player.

Last edited by stephanie; 06-29-2011 at 11:41 AM..
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  #117  
Old 06-29-2011, 11:26 AM
stephanie stephanie is offline
 
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Default Re: Political Philosophy and Wilt Chamberlain (Matthew Yglesias & Julian Sanchez)

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That is the crucial difference between the US and Europe in the year 2011. No one in Europe believes anymore that state and society are antithetical.
I mostly agree with you here.
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  #118  
Old 06-29-2011, 11:33 AM
stephanie stephanie is offline
 
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Default Re: Political Philosophy and Wilt Chamberlain (Matthew Yglesias & Julian Sanchez)

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I think you and I are very much on the same page as regards original intent, but it cannot be an accident that the original intent crowd currently on the court is coming from the educational tradition of the US Catholic Church. So I'm not sure that it is entirely correct to say that this tradition lacks philosophical and historical culture. It's just that it is a tradition which has no difficulty in treating with religious reverence an historical document. They have simply transferred their desire for divinely revealed authority to the constitution.
This is an interesting point, and there's actually a lot of similarity between how lawyers approach the Constitution (even those not following an "original intent" approach) and how Catholics tend to read doctrinal history and scripture in making arguments, so I can see how a focus on one might influence the other.

I think you can overstate the point when it comes to original intent, however, as one common argument re original intent is that it actually gives an out for those who don't like how tradition has evolved. This is Posner's criticism about Scalia et al., for example -- that "original intent" ends up being an excuse when one's personal preferences are inconsistent with the existing law and interpretation. It works if your personal preferences tend to be ones more common in an earlier age, but often then results in more activism rather than less. (This is Posner's point, and Posner is no liberal.)

It reminds me of something I read from Scalia on capital punishment, where he is, obviously, in disagreement with the current Catholic teaching. Scalia's response -- which sounded somewhat, well, Lutheran to me, was that the Church (or Vatican and bishops, anyway) is wrong, because clearly original intent, if one consults the scriptures, says that capital punishment is just fine.
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  #119  
Old 06-29-2011, 12:22 PM
Flaw Flaw is offline
 
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Default Re: Political Philosophy and Wilt Chamberlain (Matthew Yglesias & Julian Sanchez)

This might be my favorite diavlog ever.

Mat and Julian were both great.
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  #120  
Old 06-29-2011, 04:25 PM
Florian Florian is offline
 
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Default Re: Political Philosophy and Wilt Chamberlain (Matthew Yglesias & Julian Sanchez)

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Originally Posted by operative View Post
When you define a state by what the government can not do to its citizens, you are naturally establishing a more secure system because the people will be invigorated by a lack of restrictions, unconstrained, and will look to themselves and their organic community for their fulfillment.
I have no idea what you are talking about. Are you seriously suggesting that a citizen of France or of any other European country has no rights against the state? That the state can do whatever it pleases with regard to him? That only the US defines the state "by what the government cannot do to its citizens?"

Quote:
When you define it by positive liberty (the very concept is self-contradictory because so-called positive liberties involve sacrifices made to the state and result in obligations to the state), you build an unsustainable set of expectations..
Again, I have no idea what you are talking about. Obligations to the state, i.e. (I presume) the payment of taxes, are indeed sacrifices but they are sacrifices made in return for services that the state provides, i.e. defence, a system of justice, education, health care, unemployment insurance, pensions in old age (among other things). Are you saying that any obligation that goes beyond paying for defense and a system of justice is unjust?

That is not what Isaiah Berlin meant by "positive freedom." Which is closer to the Kantian and Rousseauian notion of autonomy, giving the law to oneself.

Quote:
Then, when the state is eventually unable to make good on its unsustainable promises (built on by self-interested politicians who continually kick the can down the road until it blows up), social unrest builds until the institutions collapse. We're seeing it now with Greece, and we'll probably see it with Portugal in the future. Those are warning cries for richer and more developed countries (such as France and the US): abandon the welfare state while you still can without institutional collapse. It remains to be seen what the specific consequences will be, but the combination of low to negative population growth and skyrocketing public debt can have no positive outcome
True. Wealthy states, and less wealthy states, have relied heavily on borrowing to sustain themselves and their welfare programs. I agree with you that the future looks bleak, but not because of positive freedom.
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