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Thanks, Wisconsin

Races for the Senate, U.S. House, etc. and other issues of national importance.

Re: Thanks, Wisconsin

Postby kurt_w » Wed Dec 12, 2012 11:12 pm

ArturoBandini wrote:RTW isn't a perfectly logical solution to union excesses, but in practice, it is a balancing factor that might serve to curb them somewhat. Instead of RTW, I'd prefer a simple removal of existing collective bargaining laws and overturning of associated legal precedent.


Guess I called that one right...
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Re: Thanks, Wisconsin

Postby ArturoBandini » Wed Dec 12, 2012 11:17 pm

kurt_w wrote:Guess I called that one right...
Yep. It's a pretty obvious conclusion from the absolute basic principles of libertarian thought. Thanks for paying attention, this is the exception rather than the rule - most opponents are happy to mischaracterize and make strawmen.
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Re: Thanks, Wisconsin

Postby ArturoBandini » Wed Dec 12, 2012 11:27 pm

kurt_w wrote:Guess I called that one right...
On this note, the idea of the Ideological Turing Test is something that fascinates me. The basic idea is that a wise, fair, and knowledgeable person who holds an ideological position should be able to express the positions of opposing ideologies to the degree that other ideologues are convinced of their sincerity, thus passing the test. Failure would mean that the speaker would be unable to convincingly replicate the arguments of ideological opponents (i.e. they don't understand the arguments well enough to repeat them).

I have a feeling that some forons would fail miserably at such a test, while some others would excel. If only there were some way to create a novel foron personality that could be used to submit believable but disingenuous positions....
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Re: Thanks, Wisconsin

Postby kurt_w » Wed Dec 12, 2012 11:40 pm

ArturoBandini wrote:Yep. It's a pretty obvious conclusion from the absolute basic principles of libertarian thought.


OK, now let's take that idea and run with it.

RTW laws, on their own, are clearly not in alignment with libertarian principles. (They involve government dictating the terms of private contracts!)

But many libertarians apparently feel that they're a "necessary evil", needed to counteract various other legal and extra-legal factors that distort labor-capital relationships in the opposite direction.

In other words, the existence of one set of non-libertarian rules that benefits the working class justifies enacting another set of non-libertarian rules to benefit the ruling class.

Is that a fair representation? Are you with me so far?

Now, just out of curiosity ... are there cases where you'd use that same principle in the opposite direction? That is, are there any cases where you support "non-libertarian" rules to benefit the working class as a counterbalance to the existence of other legal and extra-legal circumstances that benefit the ruling class?

This isn't intended as a trick question. Maybe there are no cases where the rich use legal and extra-legal tricks to prey on the poor. If no such cases exist, then I could hardly expect you to identify and seek to mitigate them.

I do find this rather interesting. Personally, I think that politics is full of gray areas, places where it's necessary to make messy compromises. But in my experience, libertarians tend to be rather uncomfortable going down that road. It seems to me that if you start out by saying "I reluctantly support allowing the government to force employers to eschew certain types of agreements in their employment contracts, because doing so would weaken unions and I don't like the way unions have amassed their powers" ... well, you could end up justifying all kinds of stuff using that sort of reasoning.
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Re: Thanks, Wisconsin

Postby ArturoBandini » Thu Dec 13, 2012 12:01 am

kurt_w wrote:But many libertarians apparently feel that they're a "necessary evil", needed to counteract various other legal and extra-legal factors that distort labor-capital relationships in the opposite direction.
Stop right there, I don't claim RTW to be a necessary evil, and like Scott Walker, I don't think that it's the direction that WI should be heading in.

Other than that, I find no fault in your logic. There are just different points along the spectrum of compromise where different libertarians will draw the line. One main difference that I perceive between doctrinaire libertarians and more mainstream political thought is that libertarians often have a much more concise description of the end goal (the non-aggression principle), while it's hard for me to see what the end goal of, say, the Republican party is (other than greater political power). I might fail an ideological Turing test when it comes to mainstream parties, because it is quite literally difficult for me to understand what the fundamental point of being a Republican or Democrat is. I know that there is much more to political philosophy than R vs D vs L, so I'm oversimplifying somewhat.
That is, are there any cases where you support "non-libertarian" rules to benefit the working class as a counterbalance to the existence of other legal and extra-legal circumstances that benefit the ruling class?
OK, how about progressive income taxation? If we're going to have an income tax (which we shouldn't), I'm OK with it being progressive. That doesn't mean that I won't occasionally argue about the specific degree of progressivity, of course. But beyond my fundamental objection to taxation in principle, I'm not opposed to some people paying different rates than others, once the illegitimate system has been congealed in the first place. All of these concessions can be confidently made as long as they are conditional - it is made clear that they are a second-best choice.

But anyway, RTW is not second-best in this case. I think that piecewise reform of existing collective bargaining law, in addition to more public scrutiny of union contracts for the public sector, could do much more of benefit than RTW.
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Re: Thanks, Wisconsin

Postby ArturoBandini » Thu Dec 13, 2012 12:07 am

kurt_w wrote:I do find this rather interesting. Personally, I think that politics is full of gray areas, places where it's necessary to make messy compromises.
I don't disagree with this, but I think that one should avoid adopting "Compromise" as an ideology in itself. This is sort of the rub with the modern cult of "bipartisanship" - bipartisanship, like compromise, is not a worthy goal in itself. It's not always the case that one cannot distinguish between right and wrong. Sometimes, compromise should not be sought.
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Re: Thanks, Wisconsin

Postby kurt_w » Thu Dec 13, 2012 12:18 am

Thanks for the replies. I don't have much to say here, because it's past time for bed and I'm going to be up and at work again all too soon.

As for compromise, I don't see it as something that should be sought, but something that should be accepted when necessary.
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Re: Thanks, Wisconsin

Postby snoqueen » Thu Dec 13, 2012 3:35 am

And I think -- or my best self thinks -- that compromise is not a necessary evil or part of a gray area at all. I think it is the heart and soul of a truly functional political process. This is because all parties who have an interest necessarily disagree, otherwise we wouldn't be trying to write legislation at all. To write that legislation, therefore, the parties need to listen to one another and find ways to meet some of everyone's wants and needs while meeting some of the other parties' wants and needs too.

That's compromise, and in the long run it brings a more dynamic and inclusive form of stability than any other process we've tried. The compromise process is capable of self-adjusting and changing over time in unpredictable ways, which is essential and is really not a feature of more fixed political belief systems, my own included.

It's hard for me because to me it's so obvious we should be moving toward something like the Scandinavian countries have, but the very fact a lot of people don't agree means compromise is required. I might not like it but I'm not the only person in the room, you know?
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Re: Thanks, Wisconsin

Postby kurt_w » Thu Dec 13, 2012 8:48 am

Arturo's contrast between "doctrinaire" libertarians and those with more messy mainstream political views reminds me strongly of Isaiah Berlin's essay about hedgehogs and foxes.

Interestingly, those libertarians who tried to organize a mass emigration to (and takeover of) New Hampshire a while back chose the porcupine as their mascot. Porcupines have some obvious similarities to hedgehogs.

------------
Edited to add that I'm sure lots of other people have noticed this same thing before.
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Re: Thanks, Wisconsin

Postby Henry Vilas » Thu Dec 13, 2012 9:17 am

ArturoBandini wrote:...union excesses...

Such as?
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Re: Thanks, Wisconsin

Postby scratch » Thu Dec 13, 2012 9:53 am

ArturoBandini wrote:Thanks for paying attention, this is the exception rather than the rule - most opponents are happy to mischaracterize and make strawmen.


The moreso for an absolute verbiage fountain like yourself, you silly little make-believe libertarian.
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Re: Thanks, Wisconsin

Postby Meade » Thu Dec 13, 2012 10:00 am

Henry Vilas wrote:
ArturoBandini wrote:...union excesses...

Such as?

Embezzlement.
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Re: Thanks, Wisconsin

Postby Stebben84 » Thu Dec 13, 2012 10:22 am

Because embezzlement only occurs in unions. I've never heard of that happening with businesses or politicians...

A former associate of Gov. Scott Walker convicted of embezzling money from a veterans' group has been sentenced to two years in prison.


http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/0 ... 58495.html
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Re: Thanks, Wisconsin

Postby Meade » Thu Dec 13, 2012 10:52 am

Good. Then we agree that embezzlement is a bad thing. Next:
Extortion and coercion.
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Re: Thanks, Wisconsin

Postby ArturoBandini » Thu Dec 13, 2012 11:22 am

Henry Vilas wrote:
ArturoBandini wrote:...union excesses...

Such as?

Look to California's public employee pension liability problem - entirely the result of collaboration between public sector unions and compliant politicians. The situation is little different in Illinois.

I would say that any instance of a sustained sit-in (on property not owned by the union or members thereof) is an example of union excess - a clear violation of property rights.

We might also look to Detroit and the decline it witnessed under an economy and political regime controlled almost entirely by pro-union forces.

But anyway, I'll concede that "excess" is not the best word, because these problems are not always simply a matter of degree. "Negative externality" is probably more descriptive to describe the undesirable consequences of giving too many legal concessions to unions.
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