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Michael Hardner

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Everything posted by Michael Hardner

  1. Okay, I read that thread and aged about twenty years. For better or worse, this forum is starting to elevate itself above the level where it can be understood by the average person. Hugo, you are at once a nightmare and a dream come true. You seem to have a well thought out complex theory that is espoused by no one else. It is aggravating yet fascinating to walk through it. I think that any good theory has to be internally consistent and logical at a minimum. But even theories that meet this test will [sometimes] fail in the real world. While I still don't understand completely what you're talking about, I find it significant that you imply that private healthcare could possibly be supplied at roughly a cost of $9 per family. Is this correct ? Because if that's what you're saying, it's plainly preposterous. I think you're intellectually honest, but you may have some blinders as to the practicality of some of these things. I'd still like to hear more about this polycentric legal society you're talking about. Where do these theories come from ? Is it von Mises ? How would such a society come into being ? What role would the state have ? What would prevent the rise of organized crime/government ?
  2. Well, I agree that the 5 states with veto power need to lead a reform, but I don't see the new organization being any more palatable to the US somehow. And... Many nations with strong state presence, mixed with capitalism still survive and are strong. Are you including these as part of the 'basic US model' ?
  3. From the top of my head, FDR won in 1932,1936, 1940, and (I think) 1944. The two term limit was passed AFTER his presidency, I believe.
  4. Some comments have been made in this thread as to what business people have in commenting on the relationship between WAL MART and it's competitors, employees, customers and so on... From Auguste and Hugo: While I don't think that gay marriage has any negative effect on non-gays (or society in general), I wouldn't ask anybody opposed to gay marriage to refrain from commenting on it. Why ? Because I believe that those who comment on these large issues does so out of a care for the community, whether I agree with them or not. I'd like to hear more between Eureka and Hugo on the economic argument. But the potshots don't ring true - you're both expressing opinions that have been held by well known economists. I'd be interested to hear from Hugo if he thinks any government control of the market is worthwhile. Hugo's comment: Watching the Godfather Part II, you can get an appreciation for why businesses paid protection money, and why the Mafia took root in the community. The film makes a case for the idea that the Mafia was needed, in the absence of a real authority that was respected and patronized by the community. If such organizations rise up from communities in chaos, is the idea of government so unnatural ? A natural economy gives more wealth to some than to others, it's true, but technology multiplies this effect millions of times over today. Isn't it 'natural' that the majority demand payback from those members of the community that gain the most from its existence ?
  5. IMT: Actually, it is very relevant. People have been protected from being forced to do things that contradict their religious beliefs in the past. A notable example was the Sikh headdress/RCMP issue of a few years back. There is more to this issue than just that, however. But I thought I'd point out that there are limits to what an employer can make you do if it infringes upon your religious freedom.
  6. THelonious: I can't tell from this whether you agree with Gabler or not.
  7. RB: Your intentions are good, but unfortunately trying to quash small mindedness in that way will only sensationalize it. There are other more positive ways to change minds. Who would think of seriously showing a 70s Aunt Jemima figure today ? No censorship is required, because the idea is just ridiculous. Changing minds takes time if you want to do it permanently and do it right.
  8. Well, you could argue that when there was less competition on television, and when newspapers had more clout, there was a lot less of a drive to make news entertaining. You can certainly tell the difference if you watch a news telecast from 20 years ago - it looks like a PBS documentary in comparison. I saw a Russian news telecast 10 years ago and it was staggering how dry and informative it was. As television evolves, news becomes more and more entertaining and the real life that it reflects also morphs to become more entertaining. This is the main thesis of LIFE: THE MOVIE By Neal Gabler - that life itself is becoming more movie-like. It's pointless to pine for an earlier time when this wasn't the case. What we need to do is adjust our institutions to the new reality.
  9. Hyperbole ! I think Canada does very well in the news department, considering how much smaller we are than other countries. The problem with television news is it's all driven from emotional flash-points, and there's never any resolution to the problems and conflict. It just keeps going on and on... Like a soap opera...
  10. This is what I find so odd about this (mostly American) talk of UN reform. Would the US, England, France, Russia and China still hold veto power after any reform ? If this is really about reform and not dissolution, then do the proponents think that the US should hold sole veto power ?
  11. RB: I think you make an error when you attribute any agenda to commercial television other than making money. No one is in the business of making propaganda for free, nor is anyone in the business of setting good examples. So the shallowness that you see in a 30 second commercial is there because it sells. Any collateral effect on society is a byproduct. If you want to do something about it, all you have to do is change people's values. This is about as easy as moving a glacier, or diverting a river but it does happen. Do you think an Aunt Jemima commercial, even from the 1970s, would be tolerated today ? I don't think so.
  12. I'm sure if the Unions here thought their jobs were safe, and their wages would go up they would favour it too.
  13. I think that this emotion is real, though, and it needs to be channelled somewhere. Politics, as we have seen on these boards, is related to identity and it needs to make people feel that they have a voice. I think that it may be time to reduce the role of the governing party in the day-to-day operation of many government operations. Good management might be better achieved if government operations were more open to more parties: political parties, and the interested public, ie. type of people who post on these boards. The governing party would still have the right to pass new laws. This idea addresses one of the chief complaints about the central government, that they are unaccountable and corrupt. It also would address a problem that has never been successfully tackled: our democracies were never intended to act as the giant service corporations they have become. Added: And to reiterate, it's important that these things be discussed outside the playing field of partisan politics. If we can do so, I believe we can agree on ways to have our cake and eat it too.
  14. And this is why they win. Put three products on the shelf and the average shopper will grab at the one in the middle every time. This thread started out as an apolitical question about our political institutions and has descended into a partisan cockfight once again. Back to the main point: I sense some dispair in you, Auguste. But don't be sad. Think instead about the best things that these forums have done. On the surface, they seem to encourage ego-based argument and partisan backslapping, but even the most polarized of voters produces a better argument after being tested. I would submit that almost every regular poster will produce better thought out arguments after a few weeks or months on these boards. I know because I have seen it. I have seen people of both political stripes receive a real education in the best way - by talking to like-minded and opposite-minded individuals (in text form) and asking questions, and in the end holding a real opinion. I have also seen (although this is more rare) people of a political stripe modify or even change their own positions on major issues. This has happened to me. You may think that all of this is for naught. That a few enlightened individuals in a mass of voters will have no effect, but I think that eventually something very good will come out of these types of forums. ( Possibly even Rabble, and Free Dominion where I have posted in the past. ) Finally... I think you're right - that Democracy seems pointless today. Democracy seems ill to us because it was designed eons ago, in an era where opinions were written with a Quill and only the elite voted. If we want to revitalize it, we need to look beyond partisan politics and design a new democratic engine suited to today. I wrote an article on it here in response to an article by Allan Gregg of Decima research: The Politic
  15. The preaching isn't done only to outsiders, but to all sinners, which is to say all people. The good part about religion is it exhorts people to be good. As religion slowly and surely dies, this good part is being replaced by materialism and sloth.
  16. I think that there's something to that, but I also think that in many cases public institutions deserve the criticism. But much of the reason for their ineptitude is traced to politics also, IMO. Those governments who take 'pot shots' at institutions shouldn't be surprised, though, when other institutions suffer as well. In other words, what's good for the Federal Dept. of Goose, is good for the Federal Department of Gander. Or something like that...
  17. Although the media is portraying the election strife we're seeing today as a reaction to the events of 2000, I'm not so sure. For some reason, American voters are very angry about what's going on right now. It's just just the war, or the economy, either. It seems to proceed from a deeply held image that people have of their country. Voters are seeing that image tarnished and are blaming the "other" political side. No matter who wins the election today, there will be a hangover of suspicion, and even more distrust of public institutions. I hope I"m wrong.
  18. I believe Bush will win. If Kerry hasn't got a big lead by now, the last minute undecideds will go for the status quo. I have mixed feelings on this election. While I think Bush's policies have been generally bad for America, I don't think Kerry will do much better. And if Kerry wins, Bush's failures will be placed at Kerry's feet, not Bush's.
  19. If so, then your plan to make the popular vote 100% by force seems to paper over the problem. And your plan to give fringe parties more power isn't going to please the 50% that don't vote, either. Do you think that the 50% are all Green Party supporters ? They probably have the same voting habits as those who show up at the polls.
  20. 50 ? How did you arrive at that figure ? It all sounds good, MS, but in some sense you're describing all the parties there.
  21. Within a minority government, TWO political parties have to be consulted before drafting laws. This means twice as much political interference in public policy. This increases the impact of political parties, not decreases it. This strikes me as shooting the messenger. If people feel disenfranchised (or could the problem be that democracy is too successful ? ) I don't think that the government should use a big stick approach. People need to be more civic minded, need to understand the relationship between public policy in their lives, need to care enough about the differences between the parties to get involved, and so on and so on... It hardly seems consistent to spoonfeed people, coddle them, and cater to their every whim as consumers on one hand, then expect them to go to a polling station and LINE UP on voting day on the other...
  22. The problem of voter disenfranchisement is epidemic. I don't think that we can zero in on the Greens' (or other small parties') supporters voices not being heard as the cause, yet PR only addresses this part of the problem. Canadians have shown that they want social programs, but also good sound management practices. These steps seem to complicate the political picture, which means there will be more effort spent by all parties on politics. I really doubt that THAT is what the people want to have happen.
  23. But why haven't other police forces liberated the Chinese people from slavery as you theorize ? The assumption is that there is another free state nearby that has the means to assist. If this isn't the case, then the slaves of the policed state remain slaves. And your point about the South is tied to that place and time. If the south had factories manned by slaves, then they would have had all of the advantages over the north.
  24. I don't follow this at all. The US trades with China, doesn't it ? Or just escape and forget about it. I've read that argument before, but I don't think that slaves cost more than free men. It seems to me that this idea is used to buttress a 100% free-market philosophy. It's just not realistic. Is that the only difference ? Ok then.
  25. In policing, then, who decides what constitutes imposition of slavery ? In a private system, its the person(s) who pay the police directly, not the citizens. The difference between a private force paid directly by a group of citizens and a local police force paid from the municipal tax pool is ... ? I disagree. Money began in Sumeria around 3000 BC, and was administered by civic priests.
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