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14 September 2006 @ 09:50 am
Don't make me draft a bill on your narrow ass.  
Hmm. Philosophical conundrum. In bronxelf_ag001's journal, I said the following:

After I take over the world, remind me to tell the people who start campaigns to have the government ban things they don't personally like to shut the hell up, please.

Now, do you see the conundrum into which I have entered? If I as the government tell these people to shut up, then I will be enacting on an official level a ban on appealing to the standing government on matters of interest or possible civic import, all due to one citizen's disdain for hearing such things. This is admittedly coming from me, but that isn't the point. I'd be bowing to the pressure of the minority to bring down pressure from the government on something that minority position doesn't like.

Are you beginning to see why absolute power becomes self-defeating?
 
 
Current Mood: quandrific
Current Music: English Beat - Mirror in the Bathroom
 
 
 
Wolfteddywolf on September 14th, 2006 03:09 pm (UTC)
Only if absolute power is wielded with wisdom, otherwise known as a check-and-balance.
Traveler Farlandertwfarlan on September 14th, 2006 03:25 pm (UTC)
Power shared isn't absolute, by the definition I'm using. The office of the Chief Executive of the United States does not wield absolute power, no matter how much the current President wishes that to be so. The power of that office is checked; it has limits and thus is not absolute.

When absolute power is wielded by the wise, then that power goes unused. Anything you do as the Authority will unbalance the system. Anything you do with absolute power is the will of the minority (you) being wielded upon the majority (everyone who isn't you). Just because the minority thinks something is a good idea does not make it so, no more than does the majority's opinion on a topic making it the truth.

Of course, there's also the position that the wise, given the ability to do anything, go anywhere, and know the truth of any situation, will only do what is right. Then, though, you get into the question of what entails "right." Is justice always right? Is the good of the many truly more important than that of the few or the one? How do you balance these considerations? Worse, how do you KNOW that you are perceiving things as they truly are? The people used to know for a certainty that the world was flat and the Sun travelled around us.

I am left wondering if the wise know how to see the truth... or if they are wise because they know there is no final truth. Maybe wisdom is the realization that all things pass, that the ripples in the pond will work themselves out if you're patient, and that attempting to stop them early is only going to cause more ripples.
Wolfteddywolf on September 14th, 2006 03:45 pm (UTC)
Wisdom is knowing which ripples to stop, and when. Frequently it's fine to let things go to their natural conclusions instead of interfering; note the number of flame-wars that escalate owing to extra voices involved and compare it to the number that die down because of the extra voices involved.

Still, there are times when it is wise to step in and stop things. A baby falling on his head is not a good thing. Nor is a cat shitting on your hardwood floor. Bear in mind that most any food you use heat to cook has a good temperature, but only for a certain amount of time.

Not all ripples are good. If stopping the ripples would only be worse, you hunker down. If stopping the ripples isn't as bad, well, try to stop them.
(no subject) - twfarlan on September 14th, 2006 03:56 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Mz. Tom Foolerytheamaranth on September 14th, 2006 05:05 pm (UTC)
I'd be bowing to the pressure of the minority to bring down pressure from the government on something that minority position doesn't like.

no. you would be protecting peoples' rights by not letting the majority rule over those who are different.

that is a good thing, no matter who is pissed off. they'll get over it, just like white people got over blacks not being slaves, and men got over women being able to vote and wear pants (in a sense, i mean, at least legally in most places!)
Traveler Farlandertwfarlan on September 14th, 2006 05:10 pm (UTC)
Let the sheep be happy with their fleecing, for it isn't like they're given a choice.

Tell me how to reconcile a belief that all people should be left to live their lives as they choose with the position that most people are too stupid to be left to their own devices. Tell me how to tell the difference between the enlightened adult and a person who happens to agree with what my elitist self calls "enlightened and responsible." Do those things, and I can accept the position of Tyrant. Otherwise, I'm mired.
Mz. Tom Foolerytheamaranth on September 14th, 2006 05:40 pm (UTC)
Tell me how to reconcile a belief that all people should be left to live their lives as they choose with the position that most people are too stupid to be left to their own devices.

improve education in the worst places. work towards ending poverty through neighborhood education programs and college funds (use corporations- they'll do anything for a tax break). curtail 'outsourcing' so americans can have good jobs rather than just flip burgers for a life or ring up groceries. give poor/stupid people more opportunities through those methods, so hopefully they can learn to live their lives. also put war money into other areas - homeless shelters and soup kitchens, start a volunteerism program for tax breaks to the individual citizen. the more people who are there to help, the less needy people there will soon be.

Tell me how to tell the difference between the enlightened adult and a person who happens to agree with what my elitist self calls "enlightened and responsible."

an englightened person will have the live and let live philosophy. if they are for creating a world that is better for everyone (as in, everyone being equal in rights and working towards a balance of power), they are on the right track.
Traveler Farlandertwfarlan on September 14th, 2006 06:49 pm (UTC)
Forcing people to be educated when they fear and revile the educated isn't letting them live as they like. It's forcing them down a path they consider the road to hell.

Would an enlightened person with a live and let live philosophy accept a position of power that would guarantee having to interfere with people's lives on a daily basis? Just because I think I know what's best does not make me correct. Who dies to make me God?
(no subject) - theamaranth on September 14th, 2006 06:55 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - twfarlan on September 14th, 2006 07:01 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - theamaranth on September 14th, 2006 07:07 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - twfarlan on September 14th, 2006 07:53 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - theamaranth on September 14th, 2006 08:04 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - twfarlan on September 14th, 2006 08:16 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - theamaranth on September 14th, 2006 08:21 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - twfarlan on September 14th, 2006 08:32 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - theamaranth on September 14th, 2006 08:42 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - twfarlan on September 14th, 2006 08:58 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - theamaranth on September 14th, 2006 09:13 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - twfarlan on September 14th, 2006 09:24 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - theamaranth on September 14th, 2006 09:14 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - twfarlan on September 14th, 2006 09:25 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Noah Singman: Noah and Conniensingman on September 14th, 2006 05:43 pm (UTC)
You can't easily reconcile those beliefs, because one lets people alone, and the other insists they can't be let alone. One alternative formulation, however, is to acknowledge that some people (I don't think it's most) are incapable of running their own lives successfully (for some values of success), but that doesn't mean that anyone should force them to do what's right, or be forced to help them.
Traveler Farlandertwfarlan on September 14th, 2006 06:41 pm (UTC)
From the suggested perspective, the question then becomes, "What is to be done with those who are incapable of living their own lives successfully?" It leads to all sorts of considerations:

1) Define "successful life." Further, define the limit between "capable" and "incapable."
2) Do you intervene? To what degree? To what end? Are you attempting to make people capable of success or artificially successful?
2.1) If attempting to make people capable, what do you do about those who cannot become capable?
3) What do you do with people who are deemed incapable by the chosen standard who refuse assistance or who claim that the standard does not apply to them?
4) What do you do with those who would apply the standard more broadly?
5) How do you agree on what is to be done? How do you enforce it?
6) What do you do with those people who are actively interfering with the success/lives of others? What do you do with those people who are interfering passively, those whose pursuit of success is inadvertantly denying success or its "fair pursuit" to others?
7) If failure to succeed or live independently affects others, how do you protect them? (Akin to passive interference?)
8) Do you limit pursuit of success at all? Where do you place the line on what is and is not acceptible in pursuit of the standard of success?
9) What about those who surpass success standards? If in a zero-sum game, the degree of success of one can affect the potential success of others. Does the government balance the playing field or sit back and let people fail due to the degree of success that someone else can reach?
(no subject) - nsingman on September 14th, 2006 07:22 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - twfarlan on September 14th, 2006 08:05 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - nsingman on September 14th, 2006 09:01 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - twfarlan on September 14th, 2006 09:07 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Noah Singman: Noah and Conniensingman on September 14th, 2006 05:38 pm (UTC)
Lord Acton's warnings come to mind.

At the risk of splitting hairs, there is a difference between telling people to shut up and ordering them to do so, or if that's too finely split, there's a difference between telling people to shut up and punishing them if they don't.

No one who wants to rule the world, or even order around another person (and I'm not talking about consensual S&M or B&D, but political milieux), should be able to do so (they're already intrinsically flawed merely in having such a warped desire). And no one should be forced to do things they don't want to do. Ergo, since only those who don't want to rule people should be able to, but shouldn't be forced to, no one should ever rule anyone. :-)
Traveler Farlandertwfarlan on September 14th, 2006 06:46 pm (UTC)
It isn't splitting hairs when the distinction is fine but important.

When you are the only recourse, telling someone to shut up is functionally the same as ordering them to shut up. In a representative government, that group can campaign to choose new representatives who will listen to their position, yes. When dealing with an autocrat, the only alternatives of those to whom the government will not listen are acceptance or revolt.

I want to rule the world because I think I could do a better job of it than the people who currently actually do rule. Then again, I'm sure some of them think the same thing. The problem isn't necessarily that people who want to be in a position to make decisions are intrinsically flawed. The problem is that some of the people getting to those positions are lying as to their motives and seek the power with the intent to abuse it for their own betterment. I'd hate the bullshit associated with being in charge, but I'd still do it if it meant having the chance to set things right.
Ace Lightning: purple sheepacelightning on September 14th, 2006 08:03 pm (UTC)
when people start hollering for something to be banned, you (as absolute ruler) don't ban their protests, nor do you even tell them to shut up. you simply ignore them, and make it abundantly clear that any such protests will always be ignored. they have the freedom to holler all they want to... it's just not going to change anything.

overally, theamaranth is on the right track here. provide educational opportunities, employment, health care, etc. - but don't make them compulsory. or at least not beyond the point where a certain minimum requirement is necessary for the good of the entire population (e.g., preventing the spread of contagious diseases). absolute power is best wielded with a light hand, most of the time.

Traveler Farlandertwfarlan on September 14th, 2006 08:09 pm (UTC)
Ace, I consider education to be a minimum requirement for the good of the entire society, and I have a high standard that I consider the minimum acceptible level. Where do I go from there? I'm not willing to let people go on being stupid, so how do I reconcile that with letting people live their own lives?

If I am the ultimate authority and I make it known that I will ignore any mention of topic X, then I ensure that those who are passionate about topic X will revolt. When government closes off debate (and saying that you will not consider a topic IS shutting it down), you create a revolution.

If I had power, I'd abuse it. It's not in my nature to let people do things that I think are stupid, and yet I'm trying to live by the maxim of live and let live, whatever works. If someone is stupid and does something stupid that affects other people, I'm going to want to do something to stop them. Given the power to enforce my wishes, I'll do just that... and you know how broadly I can apply the word "stupid."
Ace Lightning: libertytorchacelightning on September 14th, 2006 10:22 pm (UTC)
education - make your minimum standard available, but not compulsory. as discussed above, have standardized testing. if a homeschooled individual is able to pass the test, then they receive the equivalent of a high school diploma or GED, same as the people who passed the test because they availed themselves of public education. anyone who doesn't pass the test, regardless of where they were educated, doesn't get the certificate. and how many employers are going to hire anyone who can't pass a minimum-compentency test?

dissent - provide a structured process for changing the law, similar to the way the US constitution can be amended. hollering in protest isn't going to directly change anything, but it might have some influence on the amendment process. reasoned debate might have more influence.

(of course, on a personal level, i'm in favor of outlawing stupidity altogether... and i think you know how broad my definition of "stupidity" is, too.)

Traveler Farlandertwfarlan on September 14th, 2006 10:35 pm (UTC)
Ace, in my hypothetical example, if I'm the ultimate authority, then the only way to change the law is to convince me to change it. If I announce that I will not hear arguments against a certain position, then I have effectively silenced the only channel available.

What is the point of having a minimum education standard if you're not going to compel people to reach it? I suppose we already live in that system, though, since grade school is compulsory and at least attendance of high school up to a certain age is required, though not completion of that. Look what a mess we're in, where high school certification hardly means anything. As for standardized testing, you've surely heard the arguments against that. How do you set the standards? How do you ensure neutrality of content? How do you ensure that everyone has equal access in terms of quality of education? How do you level the playing field when variation in quality is found?
(no subject) - acelightning on September 15th, 2006 03:21 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - twfarlan on September 15th, 2006 12:16 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - acelightning on September 15th, 2006 07:44 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - twfarlan on September 15th, 2006 07:51 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - acelightning on September 15th, 2006 08:05 pm (UTC) (Expand)