Snafu betting parlor: Most Likable Mod

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Re: Snafu betting parlor: Election 2012

Postby Q.U. » Sat Nov 17, 2012 1:14 pm

Sometimes that's true. Sometimes you can make a one-sided argument and still be completely correct. Do you think everyone who's ever made a good bow has always made one with a partner?

I think what BR was saying here is that in an argument with another person the goal is to make them understand, and if possible agree with, your point of view and conclusions. But in order to do that you have to take them along on the ride of your thought-train, show them how and why you arrived at the destination that you did. Otherwise your argument will not be convincing. In that regard, it is purely a two-person game. Unless you're just making arguments for the sake of arguing, and don't expect to convince anyone other than yourself.
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Re: Snafu betting parlor: Election 2012

Postby Valhallen » Sat Nov 17, 2012 7:49 pm

Rough Giraffe wrote:
BeeAre wrote:You and Valhallen's debates consist of citation VS citation. Noticeably more from Valhallen than yourself. You are relying more, on average, on what you might call common sense.

"Come on, everyone knows this."
So, for example, when I present evidence on something I have observed in the past (say, "grass is green,") and he asks for a citation ("prove that this is true"), and I provide ONLY observational facts behind it ("look at some grass, it is green"), that's me making a common sense argument, yes? Are you saying that's a bad thing? Always? If so, prove to me by the example I have just presented above that it is incorrect to use that method.
I'd call it a reliance on anecdotal evidence in inappropriate contexts. If we're arguing about the color of the grass in your yard, all you have to do is look out the window, because that personal observation is all that is needed to settle the issue. For limited cases like that, and for affirming existential claims (Is there green grass somewhere? Yes there is.), anecdotes are fine. However, if we're arguing about issues beyond your yard, like the greenness of grasslands worldwide, your view of your yard really doesn't matter because it doesn't address the actual issue to a meaningful extent. When discussing the effects of macroeconomic policies, the information that matters most is historical aggregate and statistical data because that's what the question is asking for. It's important to match the answer you give to the question that was asked.

Rough Giraffe wrote:I understand how logic works. But as it turns out, two people can logically analyze a set of data and logically come to completely opposite conclusions based off of their world view (for example, a historian might regard the policies implemented during the Great Depression one way and an economist might regard them another way altogether*). If you want to say that one trail of logic is wrong, you have to explain why that one is wrong and why the other one is truly correct. Using logic. Mind blown yet?
*I am not getting into a discussion about this. It's just an example, now drop it and move on
Actually, that's not true. There is a theorem that basically boils down to this: Given the same information, two rational people cannot disagree on matters of fact and inferences from those facts. If they disagree in those areas, they are really disagreeing on what sources of information to use. However, this does not apply to normative interpretations. So two people working from the same data set cannot disagree about whether or not cutting taxes is likely to increase revenue in a given situation, but they can disagree about whether or not taxes should be cut in that situation, since they may have different opinions on what kind of society they want. One argument you've made in the past is that taxes should not be raised because doing so would cause various problems. I responded, not by agreeing with your data and disagreeing with your normative opinion, but by providing information that contradicted your statements about what would result from raising taxes.
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Re: Snafu betting parlor: Election 2012

Postby Birdofterror » Sun Nov 18, 2012 7:42 am

All of this seems like a non argument. I've read the theorem, but it implies that humans are robots. In so it even compared the theorem to two working calculators- not humans. We all think differently, there's no changing that. We can be the smartest people in the world and not know as much about mud as a cave man. Everyone can say the Earth is flat and it can still be round. Everyone can say the Holocaust never happened but the people will still be dead. People can say they know things about guns and not actually know things about guns. Someone can be right but say something so wrong people that don't listen, and someone can be wrong but say something so right that people listen. Charisma, Bluffing, Lying, Faking, Feinting... it's all the same and when done well enough could maybe even be considered fact. Who knows? We could all just be brains in vats.

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Re: Snafu betting parlor: Election 2012

Postby Q.U. » Sun Nov 18, 2012 8:18 am

Fun fact, there is a higher percentage of historians who don't believe that the holocaust happened, than the percentage of scientists who don't accept the theory of evolution. And yet, America... You still defy reason.
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Re: Snafu betting parlor: Election 2012

Postby Valhallen » Mon Dec 10, 2012 3:06 am

Second round: The Fiscal Cliff

So it's a thing now. Will one or more parties playing chicken ultimately chicken out? Will the economy jump off it? Will Evel Knievel's ghost take control and make it over Recession Canyon? Same operation as last time, and keep in mind that you can win more than you bet only by forming a betting pool with others. Taking all reasonable bets related to the fiscal cliff situation with a deadline of 12PM UTC on December 24th.
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Re: Snafu betting parlor: Fiscal Cliff

Postby Mir@k » Mon Dec 10, 2012 3:11 am

somebody explain in simple terms what the unholy fuck is going on in that article.
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Re: Snafu betting parlor: Fiscal Cliff

Postby Saint Soul » Mon Dec 10, 2012 3:27 am

The end of the Dollar based economy.
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Re: Snafu betting parlor: Fiscal Cliff

Postby Valhallen » Mon Dec 10, 2012 4:09 am

Mir@k wrote:somebody explain in simple terms what the unholy fuck is going on in that article.
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Re: Snafu betting parlor: Fiscal Cliff

Postby Marquis de Soth » Mon Dec 10, 2012 8:44 am

Let's throw in 50 internets for the Right caving in for the top 2% rate hike

Another 15 internets for the Right demanding cuts to entitlements as part of the deal.

Two bets of 10 internets each for each side throwing the blame to the other side for how close we got the to cliff.
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Re: Snafu betting parlor: Fiscal Cliff

Postby Yog » Mon Dec 10, 2012 8:48 am

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.
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Re: Snafu betting parlor: Fiscal Cliff

Postby Onizaru » Mon Dec 10, 2012 9:35 am

401 internets that a decision will be made next Friday, and it will be considered a terrible decision.
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Re: Snafu betting parlor: Fiscal Cliff

Postby Blood Lord » Mon Dec 10, 2012 1:24 pm

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.

And mine.
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Re: Snafu betting parlor: Fiscal Cliff

Postby Yog » Mon Dec 10, 2012 2:30 pm

Great minds think alike.
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Re: Snafu betting parlor: Fiscal Cliff

Postby Mr. Sefrol » Mon Dec 10, 2012 6:51 pm

Bets 20 internets this alone will give companies an excuse to lay off at least another 10-20 thousand jobs. Or at least lead to strikes that will cause companies to go out of business.
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Re: Snafu betting parlor: Fiscal Cliff

Postby Blood Lord » Tue Dec 11, 2012 1:20 pm

Excuse or will?
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Re: Snafu betting parlor: Fiscal Cliff

Postby Panty Anarchy » Tue Dec 11, 2012 1:21 pm

I keep reading this thread as Fiscal Clit.
I am thou... Thou art I... From the sea of thy soul, I come...
Soulchild: u thnk evry thng stupid.
DaCrum: Warbear, why did you suddenly become pretty cool? Stop it.
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Re: Snafu betting parlor: Fiscal Cliff

Postby Mr. Sefrol » Tue Dec 11, 2012 4:54 pm

Blood Lord wrote:Excuse or will?

They will, but they'll make the excuse that with the coming event they would "have to" lay off so many people for undisclosed reasons, despite that everyone knows what said reasons are.
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Re: Snafu betting parlor: Fiscal Cliff

Postby Blood Lord » Tue Dec 11, 2012 9:26 pm

Would the intended excuse be because they have to or want to?
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Re: Snafu betting parlor: Fiscal Cliff

Postby Birdofterror » Wed Dec 12, 2012 3:23 am

I would vote my 2 internets to something but I don't know shit about the economy, and I don't think anyone else does either. How can you understand something that by it's very definition does not exist?

All I ask is you move the
Valhallen wrote:deadline of 12PM UTC on December 24th.
To Dec. 21st on the off chance the Apocalypse will discount our bets.
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Re: Snafu betting parlor: Fiscal Cliff

Postby Valhallen » Mon Dec 24, 2012 4:16 am

Only a few hours left for betting action. Maybe it's not as exciting as last time, but whatever. I bet ten Internets on the country actually going over the cliff. I bet another ten that a deal will be reached before January 8th that will involve tax cuts and an increase to military spending.
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Re: Snafu betting parlor: Fiscal Cliff

Postby NeoWarrior7 » Mon Dec 24, 2012 4:53 am

Is it even fair to bet that major members of both sides will be very angry regardless of how it goes down?
Because if so, 100 internets.

Also, 10 internets we pass the deadline and hit the cliff, but find some excuse to not actually incur the costs.
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Re: Snafu betting parlor: Fiscal Cliff

Postby Valhallen » Mon Dec 24, 2012 6:00 am

To continue an earlier discussion:

Rough Giraffe wrote:
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?
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?
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:
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.
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.

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.
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).

Let's look at what Obamacare did. The insurance mandate and guaranteed issue mean that purchasers and insurers can no longer privatize profits while socializing risk (insuring only healthy people while leaving others to rely on expensive emergency room care, or going without health care when young and poor while relying on free emergency care), which correct inefficiency-causing market distortions. Establishing a common set of minimum coverage standards* does essentially the same thing from a different angle. It sets up insurance exchanges so that people can more effectively shop around, which will force insurers to compete in something more like the ideal markets invoked in rhetoric. It gets rid of the Medicare donut hole and its inefficiency-causing economic incentives. It restructures the Medicare payment system from fee-for-service to a bundled single payment based on the kind of treatment involved. This changes the motive for hospitals from maximizing profit by performing a lot of procedures to maximizing profit by efficiently curing the problem. It has regulations that reduce the cost to consumers of preventive care, and while that looks on its face to be an inefficiency-causing market intrusion, it actually seeks to bring the market more in line with the systemic costs and benefits of preventive care, which include a lot of positive externalities. TL;DR: Obamacare basically makes the existing health insurance market work more like the free market it was supposed to be, and that's a conservative way to address the health care market failure. What do you think a proper "conservative" response would have been? Can you identify a modern developed nation with a health care system that you would prefer?

Obama's liberalness has instead been on some social issues like gay rights and immigration. His economic policies are conservative pretty much down the line, albeit a more competent conservatism than what many Republicans have shown recently. For example, Obama's proposal to cap and trade carbon dioxide is very similar to HW Bush's proposal to cap and trade sulfur dioxide, which was then presented as a market-based approach to environmental protection in contrast to simply capping emissions. Cap and trade moves externalities into the market, letting the market's players move in their own ways to maximize profit in ways that better reflect the true costs and benefits of their actions, resulting in... a more efficient market. And it's been very effective for cutting sulfur dioxide emissions.

*If you want to talk about the birth control and religion issue, I'm game, but if you want to pursue this tangent, I would like you to first explain what you think went on.

Rough Giraffe wrote:
Valhallen wrote:
Rough Giraffe wrote:I think what it comes down to is a definition of Conservatism. We seem to be using different definitions.
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..."?
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.
If you believe that murder is evil, you do not compromise and say...
The point is not "Conservatives do not compromise," and you seem to have missed it entirely.
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).

This leads to several more problems. First, those aren't principles, they are issues, and many liberals have strong views on them as well. But anyway, it was implicit that "conservatives" believe that national security should be strong, the debt should be small, the budget should be balanced, and the federal government should not be large (keep in mind that many liberals agree with these in principle). However, these ideas must compromise with each other before "conservatives" can refuse to compromise with liberals on policies. For example, strong national security requires a rather large federal government that spends a lot of money, and if a growing debt is to be avoided, it needs to pay for that with taxes (meaning a lot of revenue and bureaucracy, which would make the federal government large in another way). Likewise, paying down the debt requires the federal government to get the money to do so above and beyond its other financial needs.

Now let's look at how this translates to policies by changing that quote above to reflect an actual policy dispute: "If you believe that raising taxes is evil, you do not compromise and say, 'Well, I think that the top marginal income tax rate should be 35%, and you think it should be 39.6%, therefore we should compromise and set it to some value in between.'" And lo and behold, lots of people are treating such small differences in policy as huge, ideologically reprehensible actions that must never be compromised with, almost as if they regard it as a moral principle that taxes should never be raised. Let's look at the debt ceiling. Refusing to raise the debt ceiling represents Congress refusing to allow the Executive branch to pay for things that Congress told it to do. Historically, votes on raising the debt ceiling were a time for political posturing, but the ceiling was always raised without holding the country hostage by refusing to allow the raise unless certain other legislation was attached. Lately, Congressional Republicans haven't had the votes to advance their agenda normally, so they have taken to refusing to allow the debt ceiling to be raised unless Democrats agree to everything they ask to be attached to it (and sometimes, more than what they asked).

As for fiscal responsibility and small government, do you think that self-described "conservatives" have a good track record on that? The conflation of ideology and policy has let "conservatives" talk about how their ideas are successful, responsible, or otherwise good while ignoring real-world consequences (after all, you might check policies for effectiveness, but ideologies are rarely results-tested). What do you think a responsible change to fiscal policy would look like at a time with low taxes and flat spending if the goal is to reduce the deficit / debt? Remember how the Progressive Caucus budget proposal was much better at achieving that than any "conservative" proposal? Remember how Romney wanted to substantially increase the defense budget to meet an arbitrary target when the DoD wasn't asking for it? Remember who pushed drug testing for welfare recipients nominally to save taxpayers' money and prevent drug use, which ended up costing a lot more than it saved? Are you prepared to evaluate your thoughts of "Conservatism" on facts?

*It still doesn't define what "Conservatism" is, and neither have you. I'd appreciate it if you would, or alternately use different words to convey your meaning so that we can move on from this point.

**Yes, it points out that it is "And [sic] absurd example," but it claims that "it makes a solid point." Reduction to absurdity can be logically valid, but that's not what this is.

***Determining whether or not one person "murdered" another in court is often not a matter of whether or not the action took place, but whether or not it was justified. Likewise, in arguments about things like whether or not abortion or eating animals is murder, the disagreement is not whether killing takes place but whether it is justified somehow so as to make it acceptable.

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?
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:
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."
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?
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:
Valhallen wrote:Please read that big post of mine. it really is terribly relevant.
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?
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:
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?
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?
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?

Grey wrote:
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?
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 anyway
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.

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.
And how did you reach this conclusion?

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.
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.

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.

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.
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.
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Re: Snafu betting parlor: Fiscal Cliff

Postby Q.U. » Mon Dec 24, 2012 9:11 am

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.
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Re: Snafu betting parlor: Fiscal Cliff

Postby Mir@k » Mon Dec 24, 2012 5:32 pm

Q.U. wrote:pot is relatively easy to grow for example.
yes this is true
i know squat about gardening and i grow pot ºuº
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Re: Snafu betting parlor: Fiscal Cliff

Postby Yog » Mon Dec 24, 2012 5:47 pm

Mir@k wrote:
Q.U. wrote:pot is relatively easy to grow for example.
yes this is true
i know squat about gardening and i grow pot ºuº

Ditto.

Though, that applies to most buds, there are some that are a bit tricky.
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