PostHeaderIcon A Possible Solution

All hail the Great and Nobel Dave, for he has, whether by intent or not, suggested a possible solution to the growing chasm in our society. This “suggestion” has been spread over several threads and has revealed itself in bits and pieces but it is no less valuable for that.

Among other things, friend Dave has noted that an increasing number of the sheeple are quite willing to be governed without their direct consent, so long as their governors guarantee them basic subsistence along with a few entertainments.

An idea that is not at all new. About two thousand years ago, Julius Caesar opined that most of the people are easily governed if given only some bread and a circus.

Like many others who consider themselves part of the maker segment of our society (albeit in emeritus status at this point in life), I have always held that being a taker was inherently bad and should not be allowed, only to pound my head against the wall because I had no clue how to convert takers into makers.

After thinking about a number of things friend Dave has written, a light came on. Why not find a way for it to be OK for them to remain takers? After all, did I not just post a rant positing that our productivity rates have risen to the level where we may not even need to have all those takers suddenly start producing things?

So, the solution that is starting to emerge from the fog that passes for rational thought on my part looks something like this:

First, disrupt and otherwise stop the track we are now on, a track that can only lead to a dictatorship of the progressive elite.

Next, let us formalize a new caste system, however, one with diaphanous boundaries that allow relatively easy passage from one caste to another – up or down – with such passage determined only by efforts of the one passing through. This is based on the notion that those older caste systems failed mostly because their boundaries were so rigid that few, if any, were allowed to move from one caste to another.

Within this new caste system, let us establish (among other things) an aristocracy of the makers and a peasantry of the takers with a rule that only members of the aristocracy caste are permitted to vote. This is not as radical as it might seem at first glance. Instead, it would do nothing more than formalize the situation that existed in the early days of the Republic when voting was the privilege of “freeholders”.

Let us add a third criminal caste for those who have been convicted of felony crimes, have served the initial punishment decreed by the criminal justice system, but have not yet proven they can live in civil society without resort to additional felonious activity. Membership in this caste would be for a minimum period in keeping with the severity of the felony committed. Upon successful completion of the probationary period, members of the criminal caste could move no higher than the peasantry caste.

Lastly, let us add an incarcerated caste for those currently subject some manner of incarceration for felonious acts for which they have been duly tried and convicted. Incarceration might include such things as “work farms” in addition to the traditional prison, depending on the felony committed and the associated threat to society.

The system should be constructed such that, within each caste, caste members are free to make their own decisions, so long as these decisions are within the range of decisions appropriate to that caste. Of course, there would also have to be some “default” outcomes to cover those who simply refuse to decide anything for themselves. This would be especially true for the lower castes.

Since only members of the aristocracy caste would have the vote, they would, to a large extent, have almost dictatorial power over the lower castes. This should not be a problem, however, so long as established rules ensure an adequate degree of benevolence. If friend Dave is correct, and I am sure he is, then many members of the peasantry caste would actually find this agreeable since they obviously shun responsibility.

The key to my proposed system would rest on a few simple rules and principles:

→ All Constitutional rules guaranteeing the preservation of natural rights and forbidding cruel and unusual punishments and the seizure of property obtained by moral and ethical means would apply without regard to caste membership.

→ The voting franchise and the 2nd amendment right to keep and bear arms would be extended only to members of the aristocracy caste.

→ Membership in a specific caste and the ability to move between castes would be strictly self driven, according to clearly established rules (which are yet to be determined – however, at a minimum, membership in the aristocracy caste should require that an individual has never been found guilty of a felony and that their contributions to the free market are measurable).

→ Each individual would be required to qualify for membership in a higher caste for a period of at least one year before such membership in the higher caste becomes effective.

→ Each individual would be given the freedom to decide NOT move to a higher caste for which they qualify should they not desire the added responsibilities that come with membership in that caste. However, movement to a lower caste would be automatic once an individual no longer qualifies for continued membership in a higher caste.

Even though this may seem like an extended joke, I honestly think this could be the start of a plan that just might work. That is, if such a plan could ever be devised and implemented. The obvious problem with this is that it must, of necessity, be devised and implemented within the very system that has produced the problem we seek to solve.

If, after careful consideration, this idea does not seem practical, then I will expand on another idea I am exploring, this one originated by one Lewis Carroll and involving an altogether new form of society that exists at the bottom of a rabbit hole.

Humorous or not, there must be alternative societal structures that would actually allow the makers and the takers to coexist in relative harmony. All that is needed is the imagination to “see” them and the will to implement them. This is true even if the new societal structures can only be built upon the rubble of the current ones – after their inevitable collapse.

If it is possible that I have actually learned anything in this life, that thing would be that all things devised and constructed by humans must inevitably collapse. If for no other reason than the obvious fact that we humans are organic – therefore anything we devise and construct must also be organic, even if they be built of steel and stone. As we well know, all things organic eventually decay and decay is always followed by collapse.

Mr. Jefferson suggested a generational replacement cycle (about 20 years) for governments. While I think that too short, ergo too disruptive, his point still stands. The simple rule should be that, at such point when the decay, rot, corruption first become visible, THEN is the time to intentionally tear down and build anew. If this is not done, soon decay, rot and corruption become the very basis of society. They become a force unto themselves and are ever harder to eradicate.

A brief look around our universe clearly shows that the cycle of origination, existence and destruction (birth, growth and death if you prefer), is the standard. It applies to singular organisms, it applies to complex organisms (like ourselves), it applies to stars, to planets, to solar systems, to galaxies, and, very probably, to the universe itself. Why we cannot seem to understand that it must also apply to human constructs (like governments) then act accordingly is beyond me. We replace our tools and our toys with regularity and think little of it. Then why not the elements of our societies? Again, it is beyond me.

But, much is beyond me and, as I enter my dotage, beyond seems my destiny.

Think about it.

Troy L Robinson

33 Responses to “A Possible Solution”

  • ◄Dave► says:

    Troy, I actually see much merit in your proposal. Many questions leap to mind; but what the hell… everyone else dreams of their utopia, let’s design a new one of our own, since the bastards have destroyed the one we already had. Give me some time to cogitate on it, and I will have some questions and suggestions… ◄Dave►

    • Troy says:

      Dave, By no means do I have dreams of a utopia. All I seek is something that is more workable while offering (hopefully) less grounds for conflict. In other words, I seek a system where we can almost have it every way at once — a system where each individual gets to choose the levels of contribution, responsibility, etc. that seems right for them. Those who choose less responsibility and less contribution would be left at liberty, only with fewer of the rewards that should come with greater contribution.

      There is much that I did NOT mention in that short article, such as what expectations and requirements would devolve on the peasantry. As you can guess, I most certainly did not mean to suggest a system where they are rewarded for being bone idle and totally irresponsible.

      Indeed, what I propose differs from the progressive plan mostly in the idea that I would give the decision making power/responsibility to ALL those who demonstrate they are capable of it rather than to a relatively small cadre of elitist eggheads who live at the bottom of the rabbit hole.

      As for my criminal caste, my rules must seem very harsh (as in once convicted of a felony, never to be admitted to the aristocracy). I do actually mean that but in a system where many of today’s “felonies” no longer exist. For instance, I would decriminalize all personal actions that are based on the free choice of adults and that do not impose any harm on anyone not voluntarily part of those actions.

      I eagerly await your comments.

      Troy

      • ◄Dave► says:

        Understood. Lets take this in bite sized chunks, instead of long complicated responses. New questions should start on the left as replies to the original article, so we don’t spend all our time squeezed into the narrow third tier nest. 🙂 ◄Dave►

      • Troy says:

        Dave, you mentioned the notion of a Utopia. This is a subject I have studied a bit, as well has reading several great references to utopian thinkers in Ameritopia by Mark Levin (which I highly recommend, especially to people unfamiliar with the works of Plato, Hobbes, Moore, and others).

        At any rate, I have long wondered if those who truly wish for a utopia (as distinct from those who falsely promise one to the gullible), ever stopped to think that a real utopia would lead to the collapse of human civilization. It should be easy enough to understand that a society that had “everything” would soon lose all incentive to strive for improvement, no improvement being apparently possible. Soon, such a society would, quite naturally, be reduced to “nothing”. How could it turn out any other way?

        Is it anything other that some level of dissatisfaction with the status quo, some level of intolerance with our current state of imperfection, some level of impatience with our inability to explain that drives us to discover and to innovate?

        Troy

        • ◄Dave► says:

          Well said, Troy. I too read “Ameritopia” by Levin, and recommend it highly. Greg should definitely put it on his reading list (let’s see if he is following this discussion). 🙂

          I do think you unnecessarily narrow the utility of the word, by automatically ascribing it to altruistic social schemes. Consolidating the three definitions in Webster, it denotes an imaginary, indefinite, and ultimately impractical place of ideal perfection, especially in laws, government, and social conditions. Obviously, all of that is subjective, and no two people would describe exactly the same place and conditions if asked to describe their own utopia. If asked to describe mine, it would look remarkably similar to what our Founders wrought, which I suppose is what makes me a reactionary rather than a progressive. 😉

          This is why I said they had taken away the utopia (by my lights) we had, which gave us license to define a new one. A vision of paradise based on individual sovereignty, unrestrained Liberty, and the unlimited opportunity of capitalism, could probably still be considered utopian, in the broader sense. ◄Dave►

  • Daedalus says:

    Troy, I think you are casting your seed on rocky ground.

  • ◄Dave► says:

    My first question… do you remember the interesting discussion we had a few years ago fireside, regarding property rights and inheritance of large estates? I believe we agreed that their was room for improvement in this area. Should we take this opportunity to incorporate those ideas into this new paradigm, or just keep the discussion limited to the social/political structure? If you recall, there was a significant potential for funding the necessities of limited government out of the excess wealth amassed by extremely successful individuals, beyond a significant nest egg for their children. This could alter our thinking on taxes, opportunities, and responsibilities for our social classes… ◄Dave►

    • Troy says:

      I have always been quite vexed over the question of inheritance of large estates.

      First, my instinct is to honor property rights, ergo whatever you gain through legal, ethical and moral methods should be yours to do with as you please.

      Second, I occurs to me that, if you make inheritance confiscatory, the very rich will simply find more ways to convey their wealth while still alive.

      Third, if you do confiscate excess wealth at a person’s death, where does it go? To the government? That hardly seems an improvement.

      Then, there is my one major objection to inherited wealth (or title, or position): I firmly support a system of meritocracy where each person earns their position in society. Passing along huge fortunes often creates dilettantes who contribute even less than the typical welfare bum.

      For the present, I admit that I do not have a good solution.

      Troy

  • ◄Dave► says:

    I find your first two ‘rules and principles’ to be in conflict. I agree wholeheartedly with the first; but I regard the right to defend oneself with arms to be a natural right. In my view, even a convicted felon, who has ‘paid his debt to society’ deserves the right to defend himself, and should not be precluded from possessing arms, at least in his home. Practically, if he is going to return to violence, he will get a gun somehow anyway, and the fact that the law said he couldn’t have it, will be the least of his worries. If he is still considered a threat to society, he shouldn’t be let out of jail in the first place. ◄Dave►

    • Troy says:

      I agree except that my idea of keeping them in a criminal caste with truncated rights would have much the same effect without the cost of incarceration and the added benefit of allowing them to be gainfully employed.

      Having said that, I suggest we discard all “victimless” crimes and other so-called crimes that are nothing more than attempts to force one’s moral standards on others. Then, I would execute far more people who commit heinous crimes — and more quickly.

      Next, I would have “life in prison” truly mean the rest of one’s life.

      These things would leave us with far fewer felons eligible for parole.

      I respect the natural rights — of life, liberty and property. Societal rights, such a speech, bearing arms, the voting franchise, I would restrict to those who show some level of responsibility.

      Troy

      • ◄Dave► says:

        I’ll have to cogitate on this. I have always considered my right of self-defense and free speech, etc. to be among my natural rights. Nobody is required to provide me a forum; but one cannot prevent me from speaking my mind without committing a trespass. ◄Dave►

        • Troy says:

          Dave the “societal” rights I list (and many others) are those most subject to abuse. Those who use firearms to rob and maim others should not have them. Those who use free speech to lie about important issues should be made to shut up (hmmm.. imagine a president who is not allowed to speak). For sure, everyone has a right to an opinion, and the right to state that opinion without harassment — but, when people in the professional media and/or political positions — indeed, in any position that commands respect and attention, use the right of free speech to intentionally confuse or misguide others, when they know full well that what they are saying is patently false, their right to free speech should be impacted, even if it is only to make them wear a tag that says “Warning, I lie about everything”.

        • ◄Dave► says:

          Uh oh… Troy, we’ve barely started planting, and already John’s rocks are surfacing in your garden, which you appear willing to locate on a treacherously slippery slope. I just can’t go with you on this one. Since one’s class is a personal and reversible choice, I could perhaps agree to making it a condition for accepting public dole, that betas voluntarily surrender their rights of self-defense and speech, etc.

          Yet, I could never be part of an alpha ruling class, which presumed authority to regulate non-coercive behavior of all citizens. I am a strong proponent of caveat emptor (let the buyer beware), whether one is buying goods, services, or information. Governmental attempts to protect them, only cripple consumers, by leading them to believe they need not bother, to do their own due diligence.

          Meanwhile, who do we trust to determine for society what is truth, lies, or intent? Who gets to decide who is a ‘professional’ or who must wear your scarlet ‘L’ tag, and wouldn’t that be a trespass? How many readers could a blogger amass, before being considered a professional influencer of public opinion, and in need of constant scrutiny and regulation?

          What about clergy? Some think they are preaching lies; yet they swear it is the ultimate truth. Who decides? Where would it stop? How long before using one’s powers of persuasion were banned? Might a salesman’s techniques, even simply accentuating the positives and minimizing the negatives of his wares, soon be considered manipulative, and in need of banning?

          I certainly share your dismay with violent criminals and glib prevaricating manipulators of the sheeple; but it strikes me as a statist mentality, to suggest that government could solve the problem by banning the tools of their trades. I don’t want to live in that world. I would prefer to be left free to defend myself, and utilize my own BS filters.

          We are becoming awash in jack-booted thugs and consumer protection laws; yet violence and fraud get steadily worse. When are we going to figure out that government is the problem, not the solution? There would be much less violence, if the sheeple weren’t deluded into believing the cops will protect them. There would be much less fraud, if the sheeple simply checked out the reputations of those they are inclined to do business with.

          I can see already that any hope of successfully cultivating this idea on your slope, would require at least one more class. Informally, I would call it the freemen class. It would consist of those incurably contumacious citizens, who are nevertheless benign, a danger to no one, and just wish to be left alone. They are fiercely independent, doggedly self-reliant, and unwilling to be a freeloading beta.

          They are willing to contribute their share of the cost for public services they actually use (e.g. roads, police, fire, etc.), but are uninterested in supporting the beta class consumers. They refuse to be involved in endeavors to regulate the lifestyle choices of their neighbors, and determined to resist all efforts to regulate their own. So they are willing to forgo the perks of the alpha class, for the blessings of Liberty.

          This is the only class that would interest me, of course, and absent that option, I suppose I would have to volunteer to take my chances in the badlands with the deltas. Better that, than an insufferable life among all the busybodies attracted to the alpha class, if they were actually empowered to enact their dogma. ◄Dave►

  • ◄Dave► says:

    Let’s drop the loaded words – aristocracy, peasants, castes, et al – immediately. We will want to market this thing. 🙂

    How about simply alpha, beta, gamma, and delta – class ? ◄Dave►

    • Troy says:

      In another rant, I offered a similar idea based on classes (another loaded word — perhaps “levels”) of citizenship. Labels matter not to me. i am all about function.

      Troy

      • ◄Dave► says:

        “Class’ would be considered loaded only in a pretty narrow sense. We classify all manner of things into classes – students, animals, naval ships, etc. Few are offended by being referred to as ‘middle class’ or ‘working class.’ Technically, the word ‘class’ does not automatically imply hierarchy, as does ‘level.’ E.g. one can simultaneously belong to the ‘middle class,’ ‘working class,’ and in some respects the ‘leisure class.’ I think it is the appropriate word; but level works too, if you prefer it. ◄Dave►

  • ◄Dave► says:

    I find the year wait for advancement to a higher class objectionable. If someone takes the initiative to get a good job and take on the responsibilities of an alpha, they should get the positive reinforcement of the perks right away. I can see a lengthy waiting period to reapply after dropping down out of a class, either deliberately or by default, to preclude gaming the system – such as joining just long enough to vote or get some other perk. ◄Dave►

    • Troy says:

      I was only looking for some barrier to being a part-time producer — for instance, trying to meet the qualifications to move into the voting group just before an important election then slacking off again just after. I am good with anything that prevents that.

      Troy

  • ◄Dave► says:

    Sustained productivity can’t be an automatic requirement for alpha class. Provisions need to be made for extended vacations and sabbaticals, when earned. Similarly, one may need time to find a replacement position or start a new business, in the event of lay-off or business failure. As long as responsibilities continue to be met, and no governmental assistance is applied for (e.g. unemployment) one shouldn’t lose alpha class status for a reasonable time necessary to get restarted. ◄Dave►

    • Troy says:

      No. “Net” contribution is the secret. Taking needed recreational time, retirement, etc. is not the same as ignorance or sloth.

      Troy

  • ◄Dave► says:

    Regarding the delta class, prison should be a fearsome deterrent to crime, not a rehabilitation project. I am a fan of banishment for uncivilized behavior, instead of incarceration. I would suggest fencing off a few hundred square miles of badlands in the Southwest somewhere, with a high electrified fence or some similarly lethal boundary.

    Anyone convicted of a violent felony, (male or female) would be issued a knife, maybe an archery set, backpack, canteen, fire starters, other such survival essentials, and perhaps as much dried food as they can carry. Then they should be dropped off randomly near a source of water by helicopter, and forgotten about. Case closed.

    Sure, they will be forming gangs and killing each other regularly, but that is none of our concern. Let them try to create a society to their liking, since they rejected ours. I suspect we could get some compelling video from a drone, which would go viral on YouTube, and perhaps deter anyone ever wishing to be a delta. 🙂 ◄Dave►

    • ◄Dave► says:

      Hmmm… I just had an interesting thought. When I have played with this banishment idea in the past, I always thought that we could just turn them lose and not worry if they even survived the first day, because they would likely be bushwhacked for the fresh supplies they were carrying.

      It just occurred to me that the drone I mentioned could be an Obama special, armed with Hellfire missiles. Anytime we observed a particular gang getting too ruthless and powerful, we could easily tweak the odds a bit in favor of more peaceable tribes. Call it target practice and/or a controlled social experiment. 🙂

      If we wanted to keep them spread out in hunter/gatherer mode, we could periodically drop a few plane loads of those individual rations they use for disaster areas, which flutter to the ground to be found and retrieved by refugees. Actually, this idea is getting less ruthless all the time, as we could improve their chances of survival considerably. ◄Dave►

    • Troy says:

      I have long favored a system where we purchase a large tract of land, surround it with a very high, highly lethal fence, then put in all those scheduled for execution or life in prison. Then we could charge hunting parties to go in and harvest some number each season. Of course, this would require some technology to render the weapons used by the hunters very temporary. Some manner of auto-destruct that would take effect after n days. We could also stock the area with lions, tigers and bears (on my).

      If you create a truly livable environment for them, next thing you know, you have a new Australia (and, perhaps that is OK too).

      Troy

  • ◄Dave► says:

    Should all citizens, who receive income directly from the public treasury in any way, be automatically classified as betas? However useful their service is to the community, they are not producers; they are consumers of public funds, creating an inherent conflict of interest, when a public employee exercises the voting franchise.

    They cannot properly be considered taxpayers themselves. Pretending to pay them more, so a portion can be returned as their own taxes, is a sham. It only moves tax money around between bank accounts, creating no new revenue for the government. Only producers can effectively add wealth to the public coffers.

    Oh, and while we have the chance to correct some absurdities… let’s definitely ban the very notion of a public employee union! ◄Dave►

    • Troy says:

      There are folks who receive money from the public treasury (me for instance) because of a mandatory “retirement plan” that I would gladly have forgone participation in. However, I did participate, paying the maximum amount each year for much of my working life.

      It is true that, in simple dollars, that most of us will get back more dollars than the FICA taxes we paid, even counting the 50% paid by our employers (in lieu of being included in our paychecks).

      However, if I take the amount I paid each year (including what my employer paid in my name) and pretend to invest it in an account that grows at only 50% of the S&P 500 index for that year, I end up with quite a nest egg, far greater than I am likely to receive in payments from FICA, and, an amount that could have been left to my heirs had I not consumed it all.

      Ergo, I take what FICA payments they offer on the simple grounds that it is insufficient payment for what government cheated me out of by taxing me to pay other people.

      This all leading to the answer that there are some people who are receiving treasury money which is a poor replacement for what treasury took from them earlier. People in this situation should still be allowed to vote on the grounds that they earned what the are being given back.

      That said, I would love to see a plan to sunset this Ponzi scheme as quickly as can be done without unfairly penalizing those who in or near retirement.

      People who receive treasury money “for nothing”, including folks on relief, folks receiving subsidies, etc. should have the amount they receive subtracted from the taxes they pay, losing their voting privilege if the balance is less than the average government expenditure per citizen.

      I would subject myself to that same formula, only not counting FICA as “income”, rather considering it “repayment” instead.

      Of course, the better answer to all of this is to abolish the tax code, repeal the 15th amendment, then implement the “Fair Tax”.

      Troy

  • Troy says:

    Dave, I do not seek to rule anyone nor do I seek to empower an alpha “ruling class”. All I seek is a system that allocates its best rewards to those who contribute the most. And, I want to get the “takers” off the voting lists. Allowing non-contributors to vote on the disposition of government revenues — to which they are negative contributors, is a form of insanity, or, at best, an official license to steal.

    In my scheme, your “freemen” are absolutely in my newly renamed “responsible class”.

    Government should be out of the subsidy business — whether it be subsidization of agriculture, business, or poverty.

    As well, government should be out of the nation building business. It seems to me absolutely absurd to imagine that a government that is destroying the liberty of its own people can somehow provide it to other people in other nations.

    These are just two of the things I think would wither and go away if those who supply the government’s revenues got to determine how they are used.

    While I do not wish anyone to ‘rule” others, I believe it is a legitimate role of government to protect the property ethically, morally and legally acquired by its citizens and not to act as a surrogate “Robin Hood” for the non-contributors.

    I believe it is also a legitimate role of government to help ensure the safety of its citizens and, therefore, I see no problem with government limiting access to tools of destruction for people who, by their own actions, have proven that they cannot be trusted with them. Trying to keep firearms away from people who have proven they will use them to rob, rape and murder is no different than trying to keep child molesters away from small children.

    Everyone has a natural right to liberty. But, some people will behave in ways that show they cannot be trusted with total liberty and, in my way of thinking, they forfeit some part of their natural right. To think otherwise would be to say that each person has some natural right to abuse others. This leads to the rule of the strongest and most violent and will, eventually, deprive almost everyone of his/her natural rights.

    Never forget that our “natural rights” (life, liberty and property) are in total conflict with our “natural state” (tyranny and abject poverty). The only thing that can possibly tip the balance toward the former is the formation of human societies whose members voluntarily practice responsibility and self-restraint. Such societies MUST retain the power to forcibly restrain those who seek to drain the society of its vitality, like a vampire, leech or other such parasite.

    I see nothing in the attitudes just presented that in any way condone “jack-booted thugs”, martial law or any other such nonsense. These are nothing more that additional examples of the sort of thing our society should reject.

    As for determining “truth”, it always amazes me how many people think that no such thing can be done. I disagree. Indeed, I would suggest that everything that passes for knowledge in this world is based on one of two conditions: Either it is “truth”, because it is based upon observable facts and evidence or it falls into the category of “we actually don’t know for sure”. The latter can only be discussed among us in terms of opinion, which, in turn is based on guesswork (WAGS and SWAGS), fantasy or faith. I completely understand that most of what passes for knowledge falls into the latter category and I have no problem with that so long as we acknowledge that and do not pass our opinions on to the unsuspecting, especially to young plastic minds, as “truth”.

    Yet, there is always that darker area where a person actually does know the “truth” yet tries to foist upon others something other than truth for means of corrupting their thought processes. If the ability to reason is the essence of being human, what greater crime can exist than that of intentionally corrupting another human’s reasoning process?

    And, spare me the “caveat emptor” in this regard for one constant “truth” is that we all developed whatever reasoning ability we have largely because others were willing to help us learn to see through the fog and to sort out the grain from the chaff. Almost none of us have ever gotten anywhere totally on our own. Each adult capable of a minimal degree of rational thinking skills should acknowledge that they might just as easily have grown up the product of liars and well-meaning ignoramuses rather than teachers.

    I’m sorry I am not expressing myself well in these recent blogs. Truth is, age, alcohol and pain killers are not improving my articulation at all, at all.

    Troy

    • ◄Dave► says:

      I am going to respond to this in chunks too.

      Now I am officially confused. I thought in your original proposal, you were suggesting we could provide a minimal level of subsistence to a somewhat shiftless beta class of consumers, in order to have a market for our excess production, and more producers are no longer necessary; but they would have to give up more of their individual sovereignty and any right to participate in regulating the machinery of government, or determining their share of the produce. Here, this seems not to be the case. Please clarify. ◄Dave►

    • ◄Dave► says:

      I just can’t get behind the notion of trying to ban specific weapons. What about knives, baseball bats, chains, and crowbars? One can make a garret out of all manner of things that could not be banned. As long as we permit citizens to purchase gasoline, which is child’s play to use as a powerful explosive, weapons of significant destruction and mayhem can never be eliminated.

      That said, I have no problem whatever meting out severe, even draconian, punishments for anyone who uses a weapon of any type in the commission of a trespass on others. Such punishments should be designed as am effective deterrent, more than retribution, or worse – a ‘timeout’ for rehabilitation. It seems to me that this is the best way to achieve any hope they will ever “voluntarily practice responsibility and self-restraint.” ◄Dave►

    • ◄Dave► says:

      Perhaps I should explain my caveat emptor principle a little further. Government bureaucracy is far too inept, inefficient, and corruptible to be relied upon to protect consumers. In the process of trying, they usually accomplish the opposite. All government licensure, serves the primary purpose of protecting those licensed, from competition by those who are not. The secondary purpose is usually to support, the bureaucracy with outrageous annual license fees. The consumer comes a distant third, at best.

      Yet, said license really is no guarantee of excellence or even competence. Having owned several businesses, which necessitated acquiring various licenses, I can assure you that actual competence and ethical practices are seldom among the criteria evaluated in the application process. Alas, the consumer is deluded into thinking otherwise, and assumes that a licensed professional or business is not allowed to do them an injustice.

      Have you ever signed a contract – say a loan application to buy a car – without reading all the fine print first? Why would anyone do such a foolish thing? I would suggest that it is because consumers assume the business couldn’t even put a piece of paper in front of us to sign, that wasn’t approved by the government, so why bother? Have you ever automatically trusted a doctor to do right by you, without checking out his bona fides, references, and/or getting a positive referral from another patient you trust? If he wasn’t licensed, would your approach be different?

      It is remarkable that we can walk into a supermarket, and purchase food from all over the world, which is either fresh, frozen, or preserved, or into a restaurant and order a meal, prepared with food we have no idea the origin of, and calmly launch this stuff down our throats without the slightest thought of food poisoning. Does death by food poisoning ever happen from this trusting behavior? Yeah, pretty often. Yet, here is an interesting thought experiment.

      Who are you relying on most, to get safely edible food at these establishments? The FDA or the self-interest of the business owners, to protect their reputation. Would abolishing the FDA change their efforts to sell safe food one iota? I reckon not. On the drug side, who do you think pharmaceutical companies fear most? The FDA or the trial attorneys? Would abolishing the FDA lesson their efforts to sell safe drugs? I reckon not.

      Do we really need our barbers licensed to protect us from a bad hair day, or might it be even more effective to simply ask a neighbor or two, where the best place to get a decent haircut at a fair price was located? I do most of my shopping at Amazon now, and read customer reviews on both the products and the merchants, before making my purchase decisions. I have yet to have a bad experience with this remarkable service, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything government could possibly conceive of to replace it. The self-interest of the entrepreneurs, who would be ruined by acquiring a bad reputation there, is infinitely more reassuring than any government bureaucracy monitoring or licensing them, could ever be.

      Finally, which is more appealing on a product, a government seal of approval; or one from Underwriter’s Laboratory, Good Housekeeping, Consumer Reports, or the Better Business Bureau, etc.? I thought so. If consumers were required to think for and protect themselves, there are all manner of ways in which to do so, that don’t cripple them into thinking the government is looking out for their interest, so they don’t have to. ◄Dave►

  • Troy says:

    Should all citizens, who receive income directly from the public treasury in any way, be automatically classified as betas?

    Yes, to the degree that what they receive FROM government is less than the average amount the government spends per citizen (or for an aggregate if we are discussing a family unit).

    That said, my proposal would “wean” people off government subsidies. Once government has instilled certain behaviors in society, it can’t very well just yank the rug from under people.

    I think there are very reasonable ways to taper people our of FICA, Medicare and such by reducing benefits, by age, until we reach an age group that would contribute nothing and expect nothing, leaving them to manage their own futures. What then, you ask, of those who cannot or will not do so? I answer that they don’t have a very good future to look forward to. If nothing else, they can serve as an object lesson for others.

    Business and agricultural subsidies I would eliminate in 4 years by reducing each future year’s outlay by 25% of what they get this year. If they cannot adjust to the disappearing subsidies, then I’m sure other providers, perhaps in other nations, would eagerly fill the void — or else, we would just have to admit there is insufficient demand for the subsidized thing and let it go away.

    Oh, and while we have the chance to correct some absurdities… let’s definitely ban the very notion of a public employee union!

    I would end government sanction of ALL unions. If a group of employees wish to band together to petition owners and management over issues, fine, so long as owners and management retain the right to replace them, without penalty, if they desire. The very fact that a group of workers can be easily replaced in itself indicates (to me) that the protesting group may have a shaky foundation for their issue.

    In my view of a proper world, ALL employment would be “at will”. That is, each employee would be employed under a contract between that individual and the employer that either party could terminate “at will”. You may suggest that this would encourage employers to constantly fire older workers and hire younger ones. I respond that such would negate the value of experience -and- “at will” employment would encourage older employees to keep their contribution consistent with their pay. You simply cannot imagine how many people in large corporations and in government jobs “retire on the job” once they reach a certain seniority level.

    Again, sorry for my poor articulation.

    Troy

  • ◄Dave► says:

    Are we done with this exercise, Troy? I know we got distracted on the other thread there for a bit; but I was enjoying this one more. Seems like it was your turn to clarify a point or two… ◄Dave►

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