Moderator: Mod Squad
Marquis de Soth wrote:Two bets of 50 internets each for each side throwing the blame to the other side for how close we got the to cliff.
Santa Yogs wrote:Marquis de Soth wrote:Two bets of 50 internets each for each side throwing the blame to the other side for how close we got the to cliff.
This is mine.
Blood Lord wrote:Excuse or will?
To Dec. 21st on the off chance the Apocalypse will discount our bets.Valhallen wrote:deadline of 12PM UTC on December 24th.
What are you talking about? The numbers are in the report I linked, so you can check for yourself. There were 123,750 ballots cast for the presidential election, and there were 123,633 ballots cast for the amendments. 247,383 cards in total were cast, which is what you get when you add 123,750 and 123,633. Do you think that 70% turnout (of 175,554 registered voters) is unusual or something?Rough Giraffe wrote:Hm. Perhaps I jumped the gun. But why, if it does come to about 70% of registered voters, do the numbers still don't seem to add up? How do they get more than double cards cast then?Valhallen wrote:Since the presidential ballots counted are more like 70% of registered voters instead of 140%, do you concede that your linked article is much ado about nothing?
The modern US health care system is one of the biggest market failures in human history (a market failure is a situation where a market fails to allocate resources efficiently). It's a pretty big problem for the economy and the country which will get bigger over time if the prevailing economic environment stays the same. Presented with this, some conservatives (according to the dictionary definition I linked earlier) may prefer to do nothing if they believe that the problems caused by the market failure are less important than keeping the market as it is. That's a valid conservative ideological position. Other conservatives may prefer to tinker with the market to get it working as it was supposed to in order to protect the present system from emerging problems without changing it much. That's also a valid conservative ideological position. Some liberals may prefer to make larger changes that alter the public-private dynamic in parts of the health care system, like a public insurance option that would compete with private insurers to foster competition and help improve efficiency. Other liberals may prefer the institution of a single payer insurance program similar to those in other countries and some parts of the US health care system which operate much more efficiently than the private US insurance system (Medicare and the VA system, for example). A single payer system would also have various other benefits which some liberals would like to use to address other economic problems (like the reliance on employer-provided health insurance, which messes up the labor market).Rough Giraffe wrote:You mean a huge expansion of government intervention into our lives. It gives you a somewhat one-sided choice of either paying out money for health insurance or paying out money to the government. It forces insurance companies to cover things that may be against their religion (the whole Birth Control debate, et al). It creates new "task forces" which monitor the program to see how they can cut wasteful spending. It creates several new agencies. Most of the plan is not in effect until 2014, fully effective in 2020, but meanwhile it's still legal for them to collect the tax.Valhallen wrote:To the actual liberals in the world, most of Obama's policies as implemented are indeed very conservative. For example, Obama didn't even propose single-payer health insurance as a negotiating position, while Obamacare as implemented is a huge expansion of private insurance.
Even if you like the plan or think it would be a good thing to implement, there is nothing at all "conservative" about this plan.
Look closely at what it says* to extract meaning, and then have another look at what I said. This quote you gave is supposed to serve** as an example of how compromise can be bad in policy implementations, but it instead gives a case of word definitions in the context of ideology. "Murder" is essentially (so as to accommodate both legal and colloquial use) killing which is not justified by some reason recognized as good***, so compromising the position that "murder is evil" is almost as inappropriate as compromising the position that 1 + 2 = 3. It can be done, but it would require switching to a different axiomatic system (definitions of words or numbers as the case may be), and that would make the initial disagreement rather moot. Further, the desired compromise in politics is not that "conservatives" change their values, but that they be willing to accept policies that don't deliver exactly what they want. The problem here is that the essay conflates these different situations in order to excuse the refusal of "conservatives" to compromise "on things like national security, the debt and budget, and the expansion of the federal government" as reasonable, and even presents it as a noble refusal to give up their principles (and it leaves the issue without saying what "conservatives" would be willing to compromise on regarding policies).Rough Giraffe wrote:That's a rather bad interpretation of what they wrote. Geez, it's like we're reading two entirely different pieces. Here's a snippet that may help the situation.Valhallen wrote:And that's a terrible definition (not that it actually defines what Conservatism is). Conservatives don't want to pay for things they already bought (i.e. raise the debt ceiling or taxes), and they reject the notion of compromise out of hand? "...the core principles of a small government and fiscal responsibility..."?Rough Giraffe wrote:I think what it comes down to is a definition of Conservatism. We seem to be using different definitions.The point is not "Conservatives do not compromise," and you seem to have missed it entirely.If you believe that murder is evil, you do not compromise and say...
I have been arguing with you about facts, definitions, and analysis, not ideology. I think that my positions there are factually correct and well-reasoned, and if faced with a disagreement there, they are not the sort of thing which is proper to compromise. You could in principle convince me that I am wrong and should therefore adopt different positions, but that's not a compromise. For example, the questions of how taxes affect revenue and economic growth in the real world are matters of fact. When things are working properly, someone wishing to follow an ideology examines the facts and considers what actions best accomplish what is most important according to the ideology. Suppose we manage to agree on the effects of taxes. We may well disagree about what rates and overall structure would be best, because we may use different values to score the results of various policies. I haven't argued this sort of thing with you because we're not in a position where we need to form an agreement on them. If we somehow did end up in a position of having to reach an agreement on policies, I'd be willing to compromise if you were (if we each had similar leverage, we'd probably end up near the middle of our starting points). That's quite a different thing from compromising an ideology. I wonder if you can even describe my ideology from what I've said thus far.Rough Giraffe wrote:Are you not guilty of having steadfast ideology as well? Every time we debate, you always think your way is right, do you not? And if I offer a position counter to it, do you ALWAYS compromise between your position and mine? And if not, how do you differ from a Conservative such as how you describe above?
You might, but I don't think that's what DaCrum was saying. Also keep in mind that "conservatives" do not have a monopoly on virtue.Rough Giraffe wrote:Or rather, might we say we are trying to conserve virtue, in a time where, just as an example, personal virtue is often cast aside to find a scapegoat for one's hardships?Valhallen wrote:I think that DaCrum was using something more like the dictionary definition: "1. disposed to preserve existing conditions, institutions, etc., or to restore traditional ones, and to limit change."
I've mentioned before that I don't really care whether or not you respond to everything I say, but I would like the responses you do make to be well-made. Also, relevant to this particular issue, I would appreciate it if you would respond to a point I've made before you repeat the thing that I had responded to, as it's getting kind of repetitive. It would also help reduce the size of future posts.Rough Giraffe wrote:Rather, I started working on it, but never got around to finish. Relevance aside, it is also extremely long. I suppose if I answer something here I can cut it from the other reply?Valhallen wrote:Please read that big post of mine. it really is terribly relevant.
It depends on what he does. Something like reinstating the assault weapon ban would be good, particularly limitations on magazine size. Something like an executive order repealing the Second Amendment followed by having the FBI confiscate everyone's guns would be bad. Which do you think is more likely?Rough Giraffe wrote:I really, seriously hope I am wrong on this one. I hope it does not happen. But, IF it does happen... will you still support Obama?Valhallen wrote:He's been President for almost four years now. If he really wanted to restrict gun rights, why wouldn't he do it in his first term rather than waiting for and gambling on the availability of a second term?
Only if they regard them as a few more things to check off the to-do list. If something is a priority going in, presidents typically try to do it in the first term both to avoid waiting (since it's a priority) and to avoid the risk of not having a second term in which to get it done. Look at what W Bush did in his first term: the major tax cuts, No Child Left Behind, the Iraq war, and Medicare Part D. The national security things like warrantless wiretapping and indefinite detention without trial were also in his first term, though he probably didn't plan on them going into office.Grey wrote:to be fair, isn't it rather typical for presidents to leave more radical changes 'til the fairly likely second term? because then they don't have to worry about re-election because it ain't happenin anywayValhallen wrote:He's been President for almost four years now. If he really wanted to restrict gun rights, why wouldn't he do it in his first term rather than waiting for and gambling on the availability of a second term?
And how did you reach this conclusion?Blood Lord wrote:What Grey said.
Plus Obama isn't going to go directly after guns. He'd go after the ammunition, raising taxes on them and the equipment needed to reload rounds.
Flame throwers, sniper rifles, and "military" knives are not very viable targets of high levels of restriction. Flamethrowers are widely legal in the US (they are easy to make and have a bunch of legitimate civilian uses). There isn't much difference between sniper and hunting rifles (they are both typically high-power, bolt-action or semi-automatic rifles made to be precise at long range - "sniper" was originally used to refer to a person proficient in snipe hunting). And knives are really easy to make - I could make a military-style knife (if not a particularly good one) in a few hours at home.Q.U. wrote:It's always been odd to me how these pro-gun people can rationalise and quantify the amount of "responsibility" they are permitted. For example, when it comes to weapons, in the most broad definition, there seems to be a bilateral agreement that it should be illegal for civilians to have the right to buy or possess nuclear weapons. Because clearly any device that can kill more than 1 000 000 people in one go is too dangerous to be trusted to civilians. Same issue with ballistic missiles, so even a device that can kill ~300 people in one go is illegal for civilians. Then the opinions become more varied as you go down to rocket launchers, RPGs, flame throwers, grenades, other explosives, and all the way down to assault rifles, mortars, multi-round shotguns, tripod/mounted chainguns/gatling guns. Then grenade launchers, sniper rifles, automatic and semi-automatic rifles, shotguns, semi-automatic pistols, incendiary ammo, hunting rifles, handguns and revolvers. Finally down to military knives, shivs, and other lethal white weapons.
I'd love it if all the people who support the right to bear arms, any arms, in any amounts, to define and specify their stance for me. How destructive and lethal does the weapon have to be before we no longer trust the public with handling it? Where's the tipping point? And why? I'd really love to know how everybody rationalises their stance on this one. Even though it seems a little bit off topic by now, I hope Val doesn't hurt me for this later. But I think it's an interesting question to raise, and I'd love to hear responses.
Yes, but the part which most people don't mention is that if they can't purchase guns legally, a lot fewer criminals will have guns. As a matter of costs and benefits, many criminals would switch to other weapons, especially ones without black market contacts. Gun crime would go down, whether or not overall violent crime would. But that's largely moot since something like a blanket civilian gun ban is not going to happen in the US.Birdofterror wrote:We have gone too far down the path of free arms to go back now. If we outlaw guns, outlaws will have guns. Unfortunate truth.
Valhallen wrote:Flame throwers, sniper rifles, and "military" knives are not very viable targets of high levels of restriction. Flamethrowers are widely legal in the US (they are easy to make and have a bunch of legitimate civilian uses). There isn't much difference between sniper and hunting rifles (they are both typically high-power, bolt-action or semi-automatic rifles made to be precise at long range - "sniper" was originally used to refer to a person proficient in snipe hunting). And knives are really easy to make - I could make a military-style knife (if not a particularly good one) in a few hours at home.
Valhallen wrote:But anyway, the line between legality and illegality is based on several things, including the killing power of the weapon, its civilian uses, and the practicality of limiting access. For example, ANFO bombs can easily kill a lot of people, but its main components are widely used fertilizer and fuel. Making such bombs is illegal, but they're not a big enough problem that there are many safeguards in place about getting the components, and that's probably about right. Automatic weapons can kill a lot of people, the equipment to make them is not very easy to come by covertly, and they are heavily restricted for civilians, which is probably about right. Semi-automatic guns (particularly rifles) are something of a borderline case IMO, and could use some increased regulation like smaller limits on magazine size (I don't really care about the other features identified in the "assault weapon" ban). I don't have much of an issue with non-automatic guns and shotguns being widely available for civilians, but I think that things like waiting periods, background checks, certification, and limitations on where guns can be taken should be made robust enough to weed out most likely problems. There are currently some restrictions on blunt and bladed weapons like brass knuckles and switchblades, but such things are so easy to make that preemptive law enforcement is all but impossible. And I don't think that they are dangerous enough (especially compared to other weapons and legal things) to warrant general bans in the first place. This would make spree killings a little more difficult, but it wouldn't have much effect on most violent crime, which I think is better addressed by things like law enforcement, economic incentives, and strengthening the mental health care system.
Mir@k wrote:yes this is trueQ.U. wrote:pot is relatively easy to grow for example.
i know squat about gardening and i grow pot ºuº
And the failure of efforts to cut off supply is a point in the arguments for legalization. Consider alcohol. It's much easier to make than other drugs (prisoners make it widely in prisons, for example). Prohibition failed because people still wanted to drink and it was really easy to make illicitly. Prohibition was ended after enough people acknowledged that it was futile and largely counterproductive.Q.U. wrote:But you must admit, the level of difficulty of producing or assembling a device or substance, while it should, does not usually affect it's legality. I mean, most drugs are quite easy to make, pot is relatively easy to grow for example.
Besides hunting (which is a major part of the culture in some places), it's something of an ideological issue here. It's not so much that people think that law enforcement isn't doing its job, it's that people think that they ought to be able to defend themselves (with firearms), whether or not doing so is ultimately necessary. It's related to the greater emphasis here on individual freedom and risk that has run against things like the social safety net and national health care.Q.U. wrote:Naturally, law enforcement is the key factor here, to which I agree. In fact, the very reason why most civilians buy firearms is for protection, which is generally supposed to be provided by the law enforcement. Since people feel threatened enough to buy guns, it signals that the law enforcement does not fulfil it's purpose.
I would define it as follows: the killing power of a weapon is the number of people a person can be expected to kill if the weapon is used in an attempted killing spree / mass murder (that is, people killed before being stopped, not per hour). As it happens, people keep track of what weapons are used in killing sprees, and some are more lethal than others. And as a matter of policy, lives are weighed against benefits all the time. About 90 people die in car crashes in the US in an average day (about three times as many as are killed by guns, discounting suicide), but the advantages of cars mean that very few people want to severely restrict their access on that ground. Weighing the benefits of allowing weapon ownership against lives comes with the territory of gun control. Killing sprees, the "killing power" of weapons, and the benefits of civilian use have little relation to most weapon-related deaths (which are accidents, suicides, or small-scale killings), but they do relate to which weapons are considered too dangerous for the general public to have with little restriction.Q.U. wrote:So you've listed killing power and civilian uses. Now I don't think it would be reasonable to ask you to define the default permitted "killing power" in #human lives/hour, because it would mean asking you to wager the risk of losing a certain number of lives against the benefits of allowing weapon ownership. Which I can imagine to be difficult.
And yet considerations of "killing power" can in principle produce consistent regulation across different kinds of weapons, while "designated purpose" can not. Under your proposal (I assume you mean that devices designed for the purpose of killing humans should be restricted), things like a KA-BAR (based on hunting utility knife designs) would be legal while things like the Fairbairn-Sykes fighting knife (designed only for combat) would be illegal despite similar potential for abuse. The Colt Peacemaker (single-action military revolver) and M1903 Springfield (bolt-action military rifle) would be illegal while much-more-dangerous semi-automatic hunting rifles would be legal. As an extreme case, enriched uranium from civilian nuclear reactors would be legal, while depleted uranium from military ammunition would not.Q.U. wrote:Which is why I personally think the legality should be restricted by the designed purpose of the device, and not some arbitrary value of "killing power". Which is both difficult to measure, estimate, and determine, as well as to compare and convert into any other meaningful numerics.
Giving the benefit of the doubt to this line of argument (which does sometimes range into crazy territory), it's not so much about being able to overthrow the government as being able to take care of themselves given an imperfect government. So suppose there are hostile Indians nearby (or Loyalists, bandits, gangsters, gangs, illegal immigrants, or generic undesirables), and the government isn't addressing perceived problems. People can get together and form a militia / posse / neighborhood watch and use the force of arms to deal with the problem themselves. Historically, though this has involved a lot of morally questionable and / or illegal activity, it has been an important mechanism for maintaining order in areas with little state / federal police presence. Like with personal weapons above, it's in many cases more about the idea of people being able to to that than their actually having a practical need to do so.Q.U. wrote:To be honest, I think that the main problem the USA faces is not the amount or type of legally permitted guns, but their gun-culture. For some odd reason, they are terrified of their government and it's power/control. They believe that they need guns and the 2nd amendment in order to be able to fight and overthrow the corrupt government should it go too far, all while ignoring the fact that in a potential civil war scenario they would be ridiculously out-gunned no matter how many rifles/machine guns they own and how many men, women, and children they arm up with them. Going up against the government which controls their whole army, an arsenal of carriers, battleships, submarines, fighter jets and stealth bombers, predator drones, intelligent missiles, and even tactical nuclear devices. What do they think they could accomplish with some guns there is beyond my ability to imagine (other than some kind of partisan warfare/resistance, but we've seen examples of that all over the world, and it never works out without a significant amount of help from an influential outside 3rd party). As if they could even dent the "power of the government" unless the government itself would allow them to do so.
To a large extent, that's just doublethink resulting from decades of propaganda for / against different targets without much effort to make it consistent. And it's not so much a distrust of the government per se, it's more an idea that the self-evidently perfect capitalistic democratic system has been compromised to some degree by evil people (political opponents and / or socialists) who are trying to destroy America and just might do it if Real, True Americans like them aren't vigilant. The use of an ideological rather than empirical framework lets them avoid having to reconcile views like that with a reality that they might find uncomfortable and complex. Few people actually live as if they believe things like that.Q.U. wrote:And what's even more disappointing, is that they keep boasting their superior freedom and excellent political and economic systems (capitalism and federal democracy), and yet they distrust it so much that they never cease their preparations to waging a war with it. It is both odd and disturbing to me how little faith and trust the American people have in their government, and thus in their democratic system, and how naive they are to claim that they could actually stand a chance against it in an open civil war. And yet, that is one of the more common reason I hear quoted in support of legally owned firearms.
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