[ExI] your big chance

Dan TheBookMan danust2012 at gmail.com
Fri Jan 10 20:48:41 UTC 2020

Your first comment misunderstands the concept of rights. Rights are a normative concept, so their violation doesn't invalidate them. Nor does being a normative concept necessarily imply said concept is subjective. (Health is another normative concept. That doesn’t mean health must needs be subjective much less that the concept of health is refuted because it’s an “objective fact” that there are sick people.;)

The questions about a right to rule and a duty to obey are different from the overall question of what to do or what's best for a given outcome. I mean here one might say one wants civilization not to collapse but still admit no one has a right to rule or a duty to obey anyone else. And the issue I was raising was not "what's the outcome of libertarianism," but "what does it mean to be a libertarian." For me, for the libertarian, it should be clear as crystal that one has a right to rule or a duty to obey. That in itself doesn't mean one must be a libertarian.

Let me try an analogy with you. To be a Christian means accepting Jesus Christ as your savior, right? Usually, it means a few other things too, but let's leave them aside. If you agree with this definition and someone tells you that they're a Christian who doesn't believe Jesus is real or can save anyone, then they're really not a Christian. They might share some other views with Christian, but they either don't understand what it mean to be a Christian, are lying, or aren't simply irrational to state they're a Christian if they lack that core belief. Now I don't think Christianity is true, but I can accept the formal view that being a Christian entails holding a certain set of beliefs and not holding those puts one outside the pale of Christianity.

In the same way, whatever the fuck you believe about rights or things being subjective doesn't mean anything about who is or isn't a libertarian or what being a libertarian entails.

Now, a few other points. Libertarians have discussed for decades now something like a basic income guarantee. Think of Milton Friedman (he's been dead for a long time) and his negative income tax proposal. You act as if this is all new. There are discussions amongst libertarians both about whether to do this and how (for instance, via voluntary funding) and also as a replacement for the welfare state (replacing a huge bureaucracy and set of regulations with a flat payout, which even if it still leaves some coercion in place might be the path to a less coercive society).

Finland does not currently have a basic income guarantee. They did a test program with 2,000 unemployed people for two years, 02017 through the end of 02018. The results were mixed. But they don't have a national program now in place. There's much debate on this and it's only one test. I know the result they wanted -- people getting back to work -- didn't occur. (Of course, this isn't what advocates of basic income guarantees I've read or talked to see as the goal: the goal isn't getting people to work, but simply giving people a minimum level of funding to live a decent life. That could go on for as long as they live. Certainly, I know many people who, if you pay them enough, would never work again. I'm not judging them as bad people. I'm sure they'd find meaningful activities to fill their time. I know I would.:)

As a start, right now, what you should be for is removing all the crap that poor folks have to put up with so that they can live their lives as best as possible with the resources they have. I mean get rid of their barriers to entry into markets and places. Get rid of tariffs and other trade controls which tend to decrease overall productivity and make it hard for the poorer members of society to afford things. Get rid of the overbearing police state in the US and other nations that tends to fall much more heavily on the poor in two ways -- brutalizing them when the the police come down on the poor and neglecting them otherwise.

Finally, on rights that don't involve money, you've got to be kidding, right? In the real world now and likely for the foreseeable future, things like publishing and obtaining recreational drugs involves money transactions or some form of property exchange or exchange of favors. These things currently don't fall from the sky. Even publishing online means someone is paying -- for instance, for an Internet connection, a computer (or equivalent device), and usually involves investments of time and effort by someone. It's a wacky (and conservative) notion that rights are somehow divide between sort of economic ones and all else. Rights involve freedom of action (or constraints on someone interfering with someone else's actions), so they naturally link up with economics.

Oh, one more thing: small-l-libertarianism used to mean not whatever any idiot believes libertarianism is, but pure libertarian as opposed to large-L-libertarian which mean a Libertarian party member. This is like the difference between a democrat -- someone who believe in democratic government -- and a 
Democrat -- a member/supporter of the Democratic Party. The term lost meaning long before now mainly because as any term spreads people who don't know what it means start using it to mean whatever they think it means.


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> On Jan 7, 2020, at 5:24 AM, John Clark via extropy-chat <extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:
>> On Mon, Jan 6, 2020 at 6:15 PM Dan TheBookMan via extropy-chat <extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:
>> > Does anyone have a right to rule you or anyone else isn’t a question about rules but about rulers. And it’s about a right to rule
> It's a objective fact that some people do in fact rule over other people and have done so for all of written history, so the question of "rights" must live in the subjective world. And in my subjective opinion rights should be consistent with civilization not collapsing into chaos and bloody violence. That's why, in light of the AI revolution and the turmoil it will certainly produce, I've felt the need to moderate my former rather extreme libertarian views and support things I never would have just a few years ago, such as universal basic income (like Finland already has) and healthcare for all citizens (as every technologically advanced country in the world already has EXCEPT for the USA).
> As for rights that don't involve money (such as freedom of the press and the right to put any drug I want into my body) my former libertarian (small l) philosophy has needed far less radical change. By the way, I don't drink and don't take happy pills and have never even smoked a marijuana cigarette, but that's just my choice and in my subjective view you should be free to do what you want.
> John K Clark
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